Category Archives for "Professional services marketing"

Steal this Speaker Proposal Formula (+ win a free book!)

By Admin

Get Picked to Speak book giveaway
Warning: I’m going hard on a book recommendation here. Seriously, if you have an itch to spread your message, market your practice or be seen as a leader and expert, you need to speak at conferences. It’s the shortcut to becoming famous in your field.

But speaking at conferences can be a different animal from other kinds of public speaking. For one thing, there’s a process. And for some potential speakers, the process feels daunting.

(What the heck is an abstract? How do I create learning objectives? And how can I deliver my message in a way that builds my business and gets me invited back?)

Friends, I’ve got your lifeline.

It’s a brand new book, Get Picked: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Creating an Irresistible Speaker Proposal by Aurora Gregory and David Pitlik.

Get Picked to Speak book coverIn the book, Aurora and David share their wisdom, collected from having written scores of successful speaker submissions for conferences around the world.

Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan’s Treasury Services, Eileen Zicchino credits the Get Picked authors with securing coveted slots for J.P. Morgan’s subject matter experts.

And I agree 100% with her statement: “Crafting a proposal that secures a speaking slot is both art and science.”

Here are a few of the strategies and tactics you’ll find in Get Picked:

  • How to find conferences to pitch your expertise
  • How to make your idea a “hot topic”
  • What makes a great presentation title
  • How to use story-telling to sell your presentation idea
  • Making the most of the limited word counts most call-for-speakers allow
  • Ensuring your presentation deck works for you and not against you

Their material on how to structure your speaker submission alone is worth the two hours you’ll spend devouring the entire book.

[A little straight talk here, ’cause we’ve all noticed the trend. But let me assure you that this is not one of those books with an interesting concept that could be thoroughly explored in 20-30 pages, but instead is stated, restated and fluffed and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to eek out the 200+ pages that seem to be required for every New York Times Bestseller hopeful. Get Picked gets right to the point.]

Best of all, you can use this speaker submission framework for everything from formal conference submissions and informal pitches to event organizers to the topic descriptions on your website. With this formula, your conference speaking game is going to be so next level. Enjoy!

3 Simple Steps to Construct Your Session Story (excerpted from Get Picked)

Applying some basic storytelling principles can help you lay out the session description in a way that grabs attention, creates drama, and hopefully makes it irresistible to the committee or task force who will be making the conference speaker selections.

Step 1: In the beginning

Start by setting up the common challenges your potential session attendees face. These may include common headaches you share, things that keep you up at night, obstacles that you and your organization faced – all of which drove you to seek solutions.

Challenges can include everything from lack of know how, mindset issues, economic conditions, regulatory restrictions, process shortcomings, lack of technology, management hurdles, etc.

Be sure to keep your audience in mind when setting up the problem. The more they can relate to the situation you faced, the more likely they will want to hear how you addressed the problem. This sets the dramatic stage for the solution that follows.

Examples of setting up story drama:

“As baby boomers are rapidly aging-out of the workforce, human resource professionals are facing a tremendous brain drain in the senior ranks of their organizations, leading to increased pressure to cultivate the next generation of leaders.”

OR

“With 25 percent of millennials putting off obtaining their driver’s licenses, the automotive marketplace is facing a potentially catastrophic loss of its future consumer base, leaving critical questions for the future of the industry.”

Step 2 – Building the yellow brick road

Now that you’ve briefly laid out the challenges, you’ll want to paint a compelling picture of how you addressed these problems and implemented solutions that delivered noteworthy results.

Stealing a little Wizard of Oz imagery, this is where you’ll describe how you built your yellow brick road to a successful outcome.

Once again, it’s important to keep your audience in mind as you lay out this part of your story. Think of it this way, if you could talk one-on-one with a peer who’s facing the same issue, what would you tell them? The middle of your story continues to build the drama by outlining the steps you have taken to overcome all of your challenges.

Some examples of these steps might include:

  • How you developed a new process for reaching your goals
  • How you worked with different departments to achieve success
  • Or how you innovated a new way to use technology

This is your opportunity to describe your best practices and explain why they were so important for your organization or your clients. Here you just need to hit the high notes, so you can whet the selection committee’s and your audience’s appetite. Get this right and you’ll be the wizard behind the curtain!

Get Picked gives examples of how to frame the heart of your presentation proposal:

“The 21st Century classroom is all about engaging students using the tools they already know and use, which are primarily technology-based. In this presentation, we will explore the use of technology in the classroom and how to ensure quality teacher practice. We will discuss balancing accountability with innovation and how these tools can be used to stimulate effective learning.”

Another:

“No marketing tool today has the impact video has on audiences. In this session, attendees will learn about the latest trends in marketing with mobile video, and hear from practitioners on how mobile web and apps can drive engagement, increase conversions and build brands.”

 Step 3 – The big payoff

Wrap up your session description with a brief explanation of what you achieved. This is the happy ending to your story – the part where you achieved your goal. It’s okay to toot your horn (a little bit.) Everyone loves a success story.

Things you might include as your ending could be:

  • A new process that saved your company millions of dollars
  • Your ability to cut the time it takes your staff to execute processes
by half
  • How you managed to grow your business by 200% in the first three years

One caveat: It’s vitally important to couch everything in your session in terms of what attendees will take away. A common mistake is to focus solely on your own accomplishments. It’s important to be crystal clear that attendees will come away with valuable insights that they can apply to their own life, organizations, classrooms, or workplace.

While it may seem like semantics, shifting the language from “here’s what we learned” or “here’s what I did” to “here’s what attendees will learn” can make a big difference in the eyes of the folks reviewing your submission. This simple trick can dramatically improve your odds of selection!

Now we’re at the big finish. Feel free to model one of these examples of how to wrap up your presentation: 


“We will share how technology improvements have led to significant efficiency gains in managing the supply chain, saving the organization $1 million a year and dramatically improving the bottom-line.”

“Attendees will learn how this government agency was able to implement process improvements that ultimately reduced costs by 60%, drove tremendous staff efficiency, and freed up vital resources to focus on the critical task of supporting constituents.”

“We will reveal how this simple design concept has turned the lighting industry on its ear, and how game-changing innovation from a garage-based company has exploded into a $500 million-a-year business.”

Like what you’ve seen so far? Want more juicy tips? Buy Get Picked to Speak on Amazon today: http://amzn.to/28Y4ik7.

Super exciting bonus alert!

I’m giving away two copies of Get Picked to two lucky readers. (Yep, my first-ever giveaway.)

To be entered into the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me what you most want to know about getting picked to speak.<<

I’ve said it before, but never forget that you, my friend, are straight up swoon-worthy.

UPDATE: Huge congrats to the winners of Get Picked, Lisa R. and Randy W. Your books are on the way to you right now. Soon we’ll see YOUR names on those conference programs!

One amazing new resource to find conferences for speaking gigs

By Lori

One of the most common questions I get on this site is, “How do I find places to speak?”

It isn’t often that an entirely new resource comes to my attention and makes me want to fangirl like I’m front row at a Beyonce concert.

This might be one of those times.

And I think you’ll be joining me in cheering this fantastic new resource:

10times.com - how to find speaking opportunities at conferences

http://10times.com/

(I know, I know, the name doesn’t exactly broadcast the thrills within. But stick with me, please.)

Here’s how the founders describe 10times:

“10times is the world’s largest service provider for business events. We are using technology to change the way our millions of users discover and experience events…whether it’s a tradeshow or conference, we have it all on a single freakishly amazing platform!”

Loose translation: 10times is a website featuring more than 250,000 events around the world. (That’s a quarter of a million.)

I don’t know about you, but those numbers get me all kinds of hot and bothered.

Plus, this site features my new favorite publicity headline:

“This Indian just made Tinder for event goers”

[Famous in your field teachable moment: that publicity headline demonstrates the awesome power of a great sound bite. People immediately understand what you’re offering AND they remember it.]

Now, let’s look at what you can do with 10times.com:

1. Look around the site.

10times.com is designed as a platform to connect conference goers and event organizers. As someone who wants to become famous in your field, you can think of it as a Giant Opportunity Database.

It boasts more than 260,000 conferences and trade shows across the globe. You can “follow” events organized across countries, cities and industries.

For example, if I click on Washington DC, I’ll see a listing of all the events in Washington DC for the current month. There’s also a calendar showing the number of event listings for each month in that city.

You can also:

  • Filter by country.
  • Filter by month.

Filter by month

2. Search by City and by Category.

Initially, the search by City feature only included 8 major US cities, but now it’s expanded to at least 100 major metropolitan areas. And using it is dead simple: just pull down the Filter by City menu.

Plus, you can filter by Category, which helps you narrow your focus to your ideal audiences who want and need what you have to offer.

Events are organized in 12 categories:

  • apparel & clothing
  • architecture & designing
  • baby, kids & maternity
  • business services
  • computer hardware & software
  • education & training
  • gems & jewelry
  • gifts & handicrafts
  • industrial products
  • lifestyle & fashion
  • media & advertising
  • medical & pharmaceutical.

3. Find events where you’d like to speak.

This is what you came for, riiiight? But, be prepared to do some #werk.

And to plan ahead. You’re playing the long game here. Most large conferences are planned 6-18 months in advance and lock in their speakers early. (In October 2015, I was selected as a speaker for a statewide industry conference being held in October 2016.) Smaller events may have a shorter planning window – say 3-6 months.

4. Dig your goldmine.

Less glittery phrasing: build your database.

But don’t fret – your database doesn’t have to be a fancy software program with dozens of features. Start simple. Open a spreadsheet and log events, dates, companies and contacts.

I know that this can feel like the most blindingly boring work ever, but you don’t have to do it yourself.

All over the interwebz, there are ambitious folks who would love to populate your spreadsheet for you, for just a few bucks. Check out sites like Upwork.com, Fiverr.com or HireMyMom.com for data entry muscle.

Database = dollars

Want to build it even faster and give yourself MOAR opportunities to spread your message? Join forces with a few other speakers and combine your databases. You’ll double, triple, or quadruple your prospects with the same effort.

By the way, your database is more than a handy place to track speaking opportunities. It’s an asset that’s worth real money!

Speaker business guru Lois Creamer of BookMoreBusiness.com suggests two ways that speakers can use their database to generate income even after they’ve left the circuit:

  • Sell it outright to another speaker, a speaker’s agent or a bureau.
  • Rent it and receive a percentage of all speaking engagements booked through one of your leads.

5. Subscribe to events

Keep the flow of new opportunities coming your way. 10times lets you “follow” events, similar to subscribing to a Google Alert search result.

Follow

Here’s how it works:

  • Perform a search for events that meet your criteria. I chose “Business Services” filter and the “USA” filter.
  • Click the orange FOLLOW button. You’ll be taken to a screen to enter your name and email address. After that, you’ll get periodic updates, straight to your inbox. That’s when you or your lovely virtual assistant can research the contact information and add them to your spreadsheet for the next step.

6. Make your pitch

When you’ve found a few conferences where you’d like to speak, it’s time to reach out to conference organizers about speaking at upcoming events. (Remember to start early!)

Some conferences may have a formal submission process. Others may “crowdsource” their speakers through their network and recommendations.

Whichever path you follow, be sure to present a strong case for how you can help their audience.

Bonus tip: If you’re local to an event, offer yourself as a substitute for any last minute cancellations.

7. Do a little detective work to increase your opportunities

What else can you do to increase your number of speaking opportunities? Become an event detective! See who’s speaking at the event. Check out their website. See where else they’re speaking. Connect with them.

Your best resource for speaking opportunities? Other speakers!

Your best resource for speaking opportunities? Other speakers!

Your fame boosting assignment:

If you want to share your ideas and spread your message, jump over to 10times.com and start searching for speaking gigs this week. Set your filters, hit the “follow” button and track your opportunities.

Something tells me that you are going to have an amazing year. I’m all kinds of fired up about you!

Podcasts: Boost your fame factor in 30 minutes (without spending a dime)

By Lori

Boost your fame factor with podcast interviews

Want to stand out?

Of course you do.

When you stand out, more opportunities come your way.

Clients, investors and followers come to you, rather than you having to chase them.

You have more status and recognition in your industry.

When it comes to standing out, there are hundreds of things you could do. From buying magazine ads to skywriting, there’s an endless stream of ways to make people notice you.

But let’s talk about what works. 

One of the best platforms for attracting attention, sharing your message and standing out as a leader and expert is….podcasts.

Yep, podcasts. This once-geeky medium is now the coolest kid on the block. The biggest stars in entertainment, business and tech are or have launched podcasts.

No matter what industry you’re in, there is a podcast for that. (Usually hundreds. Or thousands.)

What’s making podcasts so darn hot? For one, technology changed over the last few years and now podcasts are accessible to everyone. The rise of smartphones, streaming technology and connected automobiles means that new people are discovering podcasts in droves.

A few big media producers – like NPR with its procedural thriller Serial – have upped the cool factor of podcasts, too.

Celebs and influencers are jumping on the podcast bandwagon because it’s such a powerful way to connect with their audience. From fitness guru Jillian Michaels and comedian Marc Maron, to retail mogul and #girlboss, Sophia Amoruso, errybody’s getting into the game.

Why? There’s something very intimate and powerful about your voice being in your fans’ ears each day or week. It creates a relationship that print can’t match.

If you are a budding leader or expert, you want to be on podcasts.

Here are 5 killer reasons you want to be interviewed on podcasts:

1. It’s targeted.

Unlike say, drive time radio, the local morning news or a newspaper ad, podcast listeners are a targeted audience. They’ve sought out that show, even that episode. The economic value of a highly targeted audience is HUGE when it comes to stretching your marketing dollars and your most finite resource, your time.

2. It builds trust.

Podcast listeners are invested in the show. They know, like and trust the host. And when you’re the guest, a little of that trust is automatically extended to you, too.

3. It leverages authority.

Being featured as a guest is a mark of distinction. It means that the host (or the booker) felt that you had something of value to offer the audience. It puts you in the spotlight and offers social proof that you’re credible.

Plus, every interview expands your Google footprint, forevah! (There’s an interview I did four years ago – with a superfantastic interviewer – that still brings raving fans to my website.)

4. It expands your reach.

You might have built a sizeable network. But when you’re a guest on a podcast, you get access to a whole new audience. One that might decide to follow you, join your network or work with you.

Even if the podcast has a few hundred or few thousand listeners, how long would it take you to reach all those highly targeted people on your own?

5. The time factor.

If you manage to score a spot on your local news morning show, you’ll be on screen for what? Three minutes, if you’re lucky? (A 30-second sound bite is more likely.)

But on a podcast, your moment in the spotlight could stretch to  15 minutes to an hour or more. Just you, baby – not jammed between prank calls and celebrity gossip. That’s an incredible opportunity to share your message and your expertise.

Let me feature one fantastic resource to find podcast interview opportunities:

The iTunes Podcast Directory.

iTunes, Apple’s media marketplace, announced in 2013 that it had reached one billion subscriptions, across 250,000 unique podcasts. (And podcast popularity has been on a hockey stick trajectory since then.)

Hundreds of thousands of podcasts. And most of them need guests to fill the time.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to iTunes and search through the categories. iTunes organizes its podcasts across 16 categories, ranging from Business to TV & Film. There’s something for every industry.

iTunes Podcast Directory Categories

  1. Next, you can look at all the podcasts listed in a certain category or search for a specific topic, like “leadership podcast.”Famous in your field: get interviewed on a podcast
  2. When you think you’ve found a podcast who’s audience could benefit from your message, dig further. Look at how long it’s been published, how frequently it’s produced and the topics covered.
  3. Famous in your field: podcast interviewsListen to at least one show to get to know the format, length, the type of questions, how the discussion flows, and so on.
  4. Go to the podcast’s website. Poke around to see if you can submit yourself as a guest. If you can’t find a clearly labeled button or form, reach out using the site’s Contact form.

Make it easy to choose you.

Popular podcasts get hundreds of pitches a week for guest spots. Stand out from the crowd and make selecting you as a guest as easy as possible.

In your pitch:

  • Make it short and concise.
  • Show that you’ve done your homework. Personalize your message with specifics about their show. Mention your favorite episodes or guests.
  • Make your message focused on the value you would bring to the show’s audience.
  • Include links to other interviews you’ve done.
  • Use an online scheduling tool like TimeTrade.com, ScheduleOnce.com or Calendly.com (my fave) to link directly to your calendar and show available time slots. (Doing this prevents all those annoying back and forth emails to schedule an appointment.)

Once you’re booked, prep to give great interview by following these 5 tips:

http://famousinyourfield.com/5-tips-for-radio-podcast-interviews/

Being a great guest on one podcast also kick starts the snowball effect. More hosts are likely to book you as a guest because you’re a proven performer. Pretty soon, you’ll dominate those on-demand air waves!

Your fame boosting assignment:

Head over to iTunes this week and find three podcasts that reach your target audience. Listen to the shows and prep your pitch.

Time to give the future a history lesson, A-Listers. You were made to shine.

Do you own your name on Google?

By Lori

If you’re like me, you’re kind of a cyber stalker. You meet someone new; you Google their name to see what they’ve done, what connections and common touch points you might have. (No? Just me?)

When it comes to your own name, do you know what other people see?  Go ahead. Google your name right now. I’ll wait.

And for the Big Question: do you dominate the Top Ten? Each Google search returns ten results per page – if you want to be famous in your field, you gotta own the first page. (Multiple pages are even better!)

When potential partners, clients or influential contacts search for you, it’s important that they find you at the top.

Owning all ten search results is an indicator that you and your business are legit. That you’ve been around. That you’ll continue to be around. That you’re out there, making things happen (publishing, speaking, being involved in organizations, being mentioned in the media and the like.)

The same is true for your business name. Your name and your business name are your brands, the mental real estate that you own in other people’s minds.

As long as they can find you.

Putting my own company name to the test, I’m delighted to own the top search result for the phrase ‘Famous in Your Field’ with my website.

Let’s look at the numbers:

#1 is my website.

Famous in your field tip: own Google's front page

Famous in your field tip: own Google’s front page

#2 is my LinkedIn Company Page. (Maybe time to give that a little more love!)

#3 is a presentation I did with Famous in Your Field in the title. (Happy dance.) I also have several other mentions in the top ten search results list.

Wait a minute! Ouch, #6 is not me! A book published in 2003, called Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field is disrupting my Google page domination. (Note to self: must publish a book to take advantage of Amazon’s monstrous Google-juice.)

And if your Google results are a little sparser than you’d like, here are a few ways that you can beef them up:

  • Grab your name and your business name on all the major social media sites. High traffic sites like LinkedIn will often be the first or second search result for a person’s name.
  • Buy your own name as a domain. (You can always redirect it to your business website, if that has a different name.)
  • Get listed in professional directories or resource sites. Associations and Chambers of Commerce often allow members to post business profiles.
  • Upload presentations, article, white papers and the like to sites like Slideshare.net, Scribd.com and Docstoc.com.
  • Guest post on other websites. This is a great way to grab more Google real estate, while sharing your expertise with a new audience.
  • Personal web page services like Branded.me are an easy way to boost your Google domination.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Google your name and your business name. Like what you see? If not, get busy beefing up your listings!

Keep Track of the Hottest News in Your Industry

By Lori

You’ve heard the advice that if you want to be tops in your field, you’re supposed to keep close tabs on everything that’s happening.

But, honestly, who has the time to surf the web all day, bouncing from blog to news site and back again?

Man standing over cityscape, arms spread

Famous in your field tip: Three ways to use AllTop.com

There’s a shortcut that you can use to be “in the know” without spending your whole day cruising the web.

It’s this nifty free website called AllTop.com.

Alltop is a daily collection of all the top stories (get it?) from around the web, categorized by topic.

The homepage of Alltop shows you the five most popular stories of the day, along with the top posts and stories from the web’s most popular sites.

You can also create your own custom Alltop page made of your favorite websites and blogs from the 32,000 information sources they track. They call it a “personal online magazine rack.” Me? I just call it genius.

Here are three ways to put Alltop to work for you:

1. Use it to find interesting articles and other content to share on your social media sites. 

Schedule, share and BOOM! You’re a genius.

Screenshot of AllTop.com website with Hootsuite widget integration

Get famous in your field with AllTop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Use it to spark ideas for blog posts, articles and presentation topics. 

Pay special attention to the headlines. You can use those as models for your own work, even when it’s on an entirely different topic.

3. Submit your own blog to Alltop.com.

Don’t keep all that juicy content to yourself – set it free for your fans-to-be to find!

AllTop is one of the top 7,000 websites in the world. Get on that, please.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Scoot on over to Alltop.com. Skim the hottest stories on the web.

Then, click on the button labeled MyAlltop to create your own custom page. You’ll be on top of the stories that have people buzzing online.

Even better, you’ve got an endless stream of wisdom to use to help your clients, along with blog topics, tweets and Facebook content.

Easy Fame Booster: LinkedIn Company Status Updates

By Lori

Famous in Your Field tip: be your own publicist with Linkedin Company Status UpdatesHave you ever noticed how some celebrities seem to blast from virtual obscurity straight to media darling overnight?

Suddenly that celeb’s mug is on all the magazine covers you scan in line at the grocery store, he or she’s a guest on every morning talk show and they’re in two of the top grossing movies this week.

How does this happen? Not by accident! Celebrities have publicists – people whose job is to get media coverage, to make the celebrity “seen” as much as possible.

You can leverage similar 24x7x365 visibility with online tools to broadcast interesting and fun stuff that’s happening in your business.

Instead of only speaking one-on-one at networking events or through referrals, hundreds or thousands of people will see your business’s web ink. It’s like having your very own publicist.

This week, I’ve got a hot tip to promote your business that just happens to be completely free.

A few months ago Linkedin added a new feature: company status updates.

Just like Facebook, you can now post a short and timely blurb (500 characters long) to let the 225+ million-strong LinkedIn crowd know what’s new with your company.

Your followers will see these updates and can comment, share or “like’ them, which is then visible to your follower’s entire network.

Won an award? Mentioned in the press? Released a new product? Let your fans know about it! You can also post YouTube videos that play right in LinkedIn.

Famous in Your Field on LinkedIn: Company Status Updates

Get Famous in Your Field on LinkedIn: Use Company Status Updates

Protip #1: Be sure to include an image in your company status update. Images (photos, charts, infographics) are eye candy – they take up more space in the news feed and demand attention. LinkedIn says that images “generally result in a 98% higher comment rate.”

Protip #2: Use a snappy headline and a compelling intro for your status update. You want to grab eyeballs, not start a snooze fest.

To stack the cool even more, LinkedIn tracks the stats on each of your updates so that you can see how many people saw it, commented, liked, etc. And then you can use that intel to give your fans more of what they want!

Your fame boosting assignment:

Hop over to LinkedIn right now and post a status update for your company. Let your light shine, superstar!

How to Create Instant Credibility on Your Website

By Lori

Grab attention in 9 seconds with an As Seen In box

Grab attention in 9 seconds with an As Seen In boxQuick!

When someone lands on your website to check out your business and services, how much time do you have to grab their attention and position yourself as the “go to” expert in your field?

Not much, you say.

How about 9 seconds?

Scary, right?

At the Content Marketing World conference, the uber-smart Sally Hogshead (yes that is her real name), an expert in the science of “fascination” told the crowd during her keynote talk: “The average attention span is getting shorter and shorter. People are distracted. Some scientists say the average attention span is now only 9 seconds.”

So how can your website help you establish your credibility in 9 seconds or less?

With an “As Seen In” section.

Or you can call it “Featured On” or something snazzy. You get the point. It’s about giving web visitors a quick visual slice of what’s called “social proof.” When a third party, like a newspaper, magazine, blog or conference has covered or included you, it’s an endorsement in the minds of your visitors. There’s an unconscious reaction in the brain that says, “Hey if these people featured/used/hired this person, she must be good.”

Here’s how I did it:

 But I don’t have any media coverage!

Fretting because you and your business haven’t been profiled in Inc. or mentioned on Fox Business? Relax! Even local media coverage (which is often so much easier to score) builds credibility and boosts your fame factor. So wave those local logos proudly!

Your assignment:

Put this tip into action! This week, put an As Seen In section on your website. Use the logos of all the places – online and offline – where you’ve been featured. Don’t forget OPB – other people’s blogs, too!

3 tips to get more clients without working more

By Lori

Famous in your field tip: avoid these 3 mistakes to get more clients

Famous in your field tip: avoid these 3 mistakes to get more clients

Need more clients? Here’s a hot tip: stop shopping in your own backyard.

A big mistake that many self-employed professionals make is that they spend most or all of their networking time with their colleagues and peers.

Coaches sit on the boards of coaching organizations, consultants attend conferences and give presentations to their fellow consultants. Lawyers talk to lawyers…you get it.

Now, don’t get me wrong – networking and honing your skills by learning best practices in your industry is valuable to you professionally. But, if you don’t have enough clients and you’d like to boost your revenue you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and into your client’s home territory.

Being industry-incestous not only hampers your ability to find and woo new clients, it can atrophy your marketing and business development efforts.

When you spend too much time immersed in industry-focused groups, you become programmed to think about your peers, not your clients.

Your marketing efforts are attempts to impress your colleagues, not speak to your prospects.

You use your group’s professional jargon, instead of the plain language of people seeking solutions to their problems.

You lose touch with your ideal client’s wants, needs and aspirations. And that’s the kiss of death.

So how do you avoid industry incestuousness, and continue to learn, grow and improve your professional skills? Three tips:

1. Split your networking/development time.

Spend 50% of your allocated networking time with prospects and the other 50% with industry colleagues and professional associations. (And if you really need to boost the number of clients you work with, consider putting all the industry and community involvement on pause for a period of say, six months.)

2. Change where you focus your attention.

If you’re a marketing consultant, do you spend hours each week keeping up with all the marketing newsletters, blogs and websites published? Follow marketing gurus on Twitter and Facebook? Again, hit the pause button for a few months.

Subscribe to newsfeeds, read blogs and visit websites of people and businesses that match your ideal client profile. Knowing the latest change to Google’s page ranking algorithm won’t be as compelling to a prospect as letting him or her understand that you understand their needs and circumstances.

3. Talk to your prospects and clients.

Every day. Make a point to have a conversation with a prospect or client. (And no, a conversation about the project you’re working on does not count!) Ask them about their biggest business or personal challenges around your area of expertise. And listen. Really listen. Note the words they use; those are your marketing gold.

Your fame boosting assignment:

Rationing your networking time, changing your focus and having one conversation each day…easy, right? Yep. Now do it and revel in the rewards!

Are You Making this Huge Linkedin Mistake?

By Lori

Woo hoo! Congratulations! You’ve got a profile on Linkedin!

But wait, something’s missing…

Would you believe that some professionals don’t put their picture on their Linkedin profile? Yep, it’s sad but true. Someone goes to the trouble of creating a Linkedin account, enters their professional information and then stops short. No profile picture. (And too often, nothing but job titles in the career section – a serious waste of marketing real estate, but we’ll tackle that in another post.)

Why is not having a profile picture such a big deal? Let’s start with a practical reason. Close your eyes and imagine:

You and I just met at, say, a conference. Based on our conversation, you know that my life would be so much more fulfilling if I used your company’s services.  Post conference, you’re back in your office, going through the stack of business cards you collected and you’re dutifully firing off Linkedin connection invitations, because you want to keep in touch. I receive your Linkedin request and don’t recognize your name. I can’t remember where we’ve met. I click through to see your profile, hoping that your face will jog my memory.  Nada. Silhouette city. I decide to ignore the invite until I can recall who you are. I get busy.

Seeing your face is vital to spark a new relationship. And if you want to grow your network and the relationship, it’s a must. As human beings, we are visual creatures. Seeing a person’s face forms the foundation for working together by building what’s known as the “know, like and trust factor.”

Before someone is willing to buy your products or pay for your services, they have to feel that they know you, that they’d enjoy doing business with you (like) and that you wouldn’t steer them wrong (trust).  Seeing you – physically or virtually – is an important building block for all three points of the KLT factor.

A real connection starts with a face. Your face.

Niches: The Magic of Thinking Small

By Admin

Last week I met a business coach at a networking event. As we started chatting, I immediately called up my mental rolodex, ready to start the search for a good match. “What’s your specialty? Do you coach businesses or individuals?” I asked.

Him: “I coach everyone.”

Me: “Really? Any type of business? You don’t have a specialty?”

Him: “Yes. Any type.”

Me: “Any issue or goal?”

Him: “Yep. Anything. I coach everyone.”

And that’s when the lid snapped shut on my mental rolodex.

No one likes a generalist. Think about it: do you want a generalist performing that quadruple bypass on you, or would you hold out for one of the country’s leading surgeons?

If you want to stand out in your industry, you’ve got to narrow your focus. Develop marketing niches to target. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work with clients outside the your selected niches, but it does mean that you concentrate your marketing efforts on a particular service, client type, issue or result. You give up the undefined, scattershot approach.

Business leaders frequently shun naming specific niches or specialties, fearing that it will drive away prospects who don’t fit the targeted niche, but reality is counter intuitive: when an organization or an individual becomes known as the best in class for a particular niche, it creates higher level of interest and desire among non-target profile prospects as well.

What niche marketing can do for you:

Sharpens your focus.
By concentrating your marketing resources on specific niches, you can spend less money reaching the specific prospects who need your services. You’ll devote your marketing time and dollars to the activities, events, and organizations that fit your niche.

Increases your effectiveness.
By trying to reach a narrowly defined target client, with a service or specialty just for them, your message will break through the clutter and speak directly to that person. When you target the masses as your client base, you have a hard time differentiating yourself from others in your field. When you’re considered an expert or thought leader in a particular niche, you have stronger recognition and more credibility. Clients will seek you out.

Increase your revenue.
People pay more for specialized information. Being considered a “specialist” in a particular client type or industry allows an individual or organization to command higher fees for the greater perceived value. Experts are sought after, they get paid more, attract more media attention and get better results for clients (which generates more referrals, too.)

Best of all, you can expand your niche strategy as your business grows. Start out targeting one or two niches that you wish to dominate, and as you achieve authority status in those, you can add new and complimentary niches.

Take Action
Here’s an exercise to get your brain flowing on possible niches:

On a piece of paper, make three columns. In the first column, list your services. (If your organization is large, list a subset of services. For example, an IT consulting firm may start with IT strategic planning.) In the middle column, think hard about your clients and prospects. What consistent problems or challenges are lots of people having that you know how to solve. In the third column, you’ll develop your special twist: what trends or new developments are emerging that affect these services or clients?

Once you’ve developed these three lists, spend some time thinking about ways that those three items – services, problems or challenges, and trends – intersect. What niches do you see?

In a future post, I’ll give you tips on developing authority in your chosen niches so that you can become Famous in Your Field.

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