Lawyers, accountants, system integrators, SEO consultants, architects,web developers, artists, fund managers we are all marketing and selling these days. But when you are selling a person’s expertise, when the person is the product – what changes? Some thoughts –

Marketing Thoughts

  1. Great writing enables prospects to understand the unique insights and experience of your practice.
  2. Marketing collateral is very rarely great journalism but it should be.
  3. Ideas spread because of stickiness (compelling story), contagiousness (why the messenger is unreasonably important), context (human beings are ultra sensitive to their environment) – Tipping Point, Gladwell.
  4. Attention is the rarity factor so content better be remarkable.
  5. Tone down the selling and tone up the total value to the reader.
  6. Your words are your product to most prospects.
  7. Separate the idea from the writing. Scope it, outline it, state the problem, show the real symptoms, describe the solution in a story that sounds authentic and describe the results actually achieved.
  8. Make follow on action by prospects frictionless and attractive.
  9. Talk to personas, specific people not companies. Translating domain expertise into personal performance improvements of your prospects.
  10. Understand the type of narrative you are creating and adjust your style accordingly – promotional, explanatory, educational, developmental (Bloom Group)
  11. Look for stories that resonate across sectors to increase the odds of action.
  12. Remember, only 2 reasons buyers don’t buy: I don’t have this problem and I don’t believe your solution. (Money can always be found for attractive projects)
  13. Laconic writing is easier to pass on and share.
  14. All communication must repeat the same big insights with each piece of prose consistent with those messages. (Seth Godin is world class at it)
  15. Simplification, bringing meaning to the signals is a powerful selling tool.

Selling Thoughts

  1. It is tempting to explain the quality & depth of your experience by delivering the premature presentation method but it will fail.
  2. Professionally interrogate prospects in a friendly conversational style to discover real symptoms and their impact on the performance of a prospect. Recognizing when you can’t solve a problem gives you a distinct advantage.
  3. Always act as if you are financially independent.
  4. Don’t over specify your solution. Recap early and often what your solution delivers and build no more and no less into your proposal.
  5. Position yourself and your company as a problem solver in your prospects mind. And ensure your unique skills translate into improved performance for your prospect e.g. a narrow technical skill set such as Digital Content Governance TRANSLATES to helping Frank the CIO of a large enterprise, mitigate risk and ensure that IT supports regulatory requirements. You are improving the personal performance of Frank not some abstract value proposition for IBM.
  6. Authenticity comes from telling stories that you have lived through. Share details of roadblocks got round and solutions that failed. Sound human. Sound real.
  7. Understand the quality of your competition but always be ready to reposition them as a solution to a problem the prospect doesn’t have.
  8. Ensure junior consultants see great selling in action. Selling is a contact sport.
  9. Understand your prospects world as well as you understand your own solution.
  10. Delivering a first class speech that an audience enjoys and can use is a selling activity.
  11. Weak payment terms turn attractive projects into cash flow nightmares.