I love to read.

But not everyone does, and even if you do, you may not have time to read the hundreds of business and personal development books published each week.  So, I wanted to do something that gives value to you at the same time that I do something that I enjoy.

That’s why I started my series Business Boosting Books. Here’s how it works:

Once a month, I’ll share the Cliff’s Notes version of a business book so that you can glean some of the benefits without spending hours of your free time. As a bonus, I’m including the Steal This Idea tip, where I share a single idea from the book, along with a quickie exercise to put that gem to work for your business.

The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (BIG) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite

Michael Port and Elizabeth Marshall

Pretend You Read It

An incredibly fast read, much of the content of this pocket-sized book is focused on debunking conventional (really, at this point, almost old-fashioned) sales practices. Think cold calling, deceptive tactics and ABC (always be closing) sales techniques. The Contrarian Effect advocates doing the opposite of these traditional tactics. Here are the Contrarian Effect rules, along with my commentary:

1. Instead of cold calling, customers find you and initiate the buying process.

For this to be effective in bringing prospects to you, you have to be findable. Are you? When you Google your business name, what comes up?

2. Door to door selling and sales scripts are dead. Customers control how – and if – you reach and communicate with them.

That’s why it’s so important to be where your clients are – being published the magazines and blogs they read, speaking at the events they attend and being mentioned in the media they consume.

3. Customers have unlimited choices and access to unlimited information. Clients want a relevant and valuable offer tailored just for them.

This tenet highlights why you must position yourself as the perfect solution to the challenges your clients face. To do that, you’ve got to be super clear on who your ideal client is, what they struggle with and the results you deliver.

4. Customers decide when it’s time to buy – not you.

Your solution? Give them all the information they need to get to know you, to trust you and what you offer, to make a decision and to volunteer to work with you.

Steal This Idea!

Co-author Michael Port advocates having what he calls an “Always Have Something to Invite People to Offer.” It could be a free weekly conference call, a lunch & learn brown bag, a webinar series…some regular event that delivers value to your potential clients, builds trust and gives them a taste of what it would be like to work with you.

One of the companies profiled in the book sponsors a Best of Business series where experts and authors share strategies and tips custom designed for the company’s target clients.

The genius of this idea is that it takes the pressure off you completely. You don’t have to worry about “following up” with every new contact. You can just extend the invitation to your call/event/webinar, etc. with generosity. It’s valuable for your prospective clients and it’s no risk, unlike a meeting, a product demo or a free introductory session.

Proof That it Works

Port himself used this strategy to grow a database of 40,000 subscribers and potential clients. He hosts a weekly free conference call, the Think Big Revolution, where small business owners and service professionals can learn strategies and tools to increase their sales.

Your fame boosting assignment:

  • This week, make a list of ideas for your own Always Have Something to Invite People To Offer. Come up with at least 10 different things that you could do that would be valuable to your ideal client.
  • Ask three people who fit your ideal client profile to review your list and pick the one or two ideas that they would be most likely to respond to.
  • Choose one and put it into action.
  • Now get busy extending your Always Have Something to Invite People To Offer to everyone you know!

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