Category Archives: Guerrilla Marketing

Four Secrets of Magnetic Client Attraction

magnetIn order to thrive as a speaker, consultant, or coach, you have to be visible. Potential clients need to see you. And they need to see you as a thought leader.   When they experience your skill and expertise, they step forward. Here are four no-cost ways to magnetically attract clients.

1.  Relationship Marketing

This channel requires careful tending. Your Rolodex is your Power Base. (For younger readers, “Rolodex,” was a pre-Facebook way of keeping track of “friends.” Google it.)

Who do you know you could reach out to? Who’s out there who could provide an introduction or a recommendation? Make a list. The Director. The CEO. The HR Department. The President. The Meeting Planner. Reach out to them.

The best list is clients you’ve served recently, who’ve had an excellent experience of you. Reach out to all who’ve seen you work. Their needs may have cycled and they need you again, or they can refer you to someone who needs you now. They experience you as someone who’s invested in a relationship, so they feel comfortable introducing you to others.

Just last week, a client was complaining that she had nothing on her calendar for 2016.

“So why do you think you’ve got nothing booked? What’s your business development process?”

If you can’t articulate that in three or four steps, then you don’t have one.

“Well, I make 25 contacts a week,” she said.

“Good. Tell me about that. What qualifies as a ‘contact’?”

“I call. I leave voice mail. I follow up with email.”

“Then what happens?”

“Nothing.”

“And how’s that workin’ for you?”

If what you’re doing is not working, then do something, anything else. If you expect your situation to change, then change your process.

I suggested she keep score a different way. As my friend Mark LeBlanc, CSP, says, “Have one meaningful conversation a day. One. Every day. Like your vitamins.”

Keep dialing until you get through to someone. This is the best, most intimate way to strengthen relationships and find new business. They won’t engage until they see your work and experience who you are.

“Can you do that?” I asked.

“Yes.”

Twenty-four hours later we were working out the pricing for a new client for three keynotes totaling $24,000.

2.  Educational Marketing

Give lectures and speeches. Lead workshops, discussion groups or training. Teach a class through the local college, continuing ed, or free university. Offer your services in a low-cost, low risk environment so people can experience you. Speak at associations where your colleagues hang out. Share your knowledge freely. Large seminars can reach hundreds of prospects. Small events are more controlled and connected.

The people you can help the most will see you and self-select. They’ll step forward and engage you. They experience you as a teacher, with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. And the ones who don’t are not ready or not committed.

Every month I offer a full day, “Advanced Acting and Storytelling Skills for Professional Speakers Lab” at our studio in the mountains west of Boulder. This full-day experience teaches speakers how to bring excitement, drama and imagery to the stage using the same techniques as Hollywood’s brightest stars.  You learn fifteen simple rules that add impact to every story, every presentation, no matter what your topic.

By invitation only, it’s limited to six participants, so everyone receives lots of individual direction, personal coaching and group feedback. And I only invite those who have been vouched for by a client. This small-group format gives these guests a unique opportunity to hone and polish signature stories using easy and simple techniques.

Over the course of the day, we get to know each other better. Everyone gets an experience of what it would be like to work with me.

At the end of the day, I explain directly, “This is how I grow my practice. If you would like to continue this conversation, I’d be happy to schedule a 2 hour private session to explore the possibilities.” Then we adjourn to adult beverages.

I have the privilege of choosing the clients I work with, and so do you. About half the group will set an appointment, and of those, I choose one. And I only choose clients who are deeply committed to up-leveling their success. During the intake interview, we explore their goals and ambitions, and the investment. Then I decide if they’re ready or not.

Most engage for a year. Some want help with short-term projects, like editing a speech script or book. At the rate of twelve new clients a year, I easily keep the practice full.

3.  Leadership Marketing

People equate leadership in your professional circles with leadership in your field. For the time and effort it takes, this is one of the most valuable investments of time, energy and imagination you can make.

Attend the meetings of the local organizations that serve your industry: professional associations, network groups, Meet-Ups, chambers of commerce, or service clubs. Get involved. Volunteer. Serve on committees. Meet good people. Do good work. Learn to lead. Step up and run for office. Whatever your most valuable skill, offer that.

Starting in early 2015, I started attending the monthly meetings of the International Coach Federation, Colorado Chapter, as a guest. There I met Dr. Lisa Hale, who invited me to speak. I volunteered to direct traffic at the Fall Conference. And the next thing I know, they’re nominating me to be Education Director.2016ICFCOBoardofDirectors1

Apparently they found out that I had lots of non-profit board experience, having just served as VP of Professional Development for the National Speakers Association, Colorado. So now I have to come up with a year’s worth of keynote speakers, plus added workshops, webinars and salon events.

Now you’re smack in the middle of the most influential network in your field. But what better place to develop a reputation? Coach, consultant, speaker, blogger, or author, you gain credibility by who you count as colleagues. They experience you as a leader, who bolsters everyone’s confidence.

4.  Authorship Marketing

That book inside you is going to have to come out. They can’t see you as a thought leader if they don’t know what you think. Authorship = Authority. So put your thoughts in writing. It can be a speech, a lecture, a blog, a newsletter, an eBook, or even a New-York-Times-Best-Seller-published-by-a-Major-house Dead-Tree-Book.

My friend Cristal had been struggling to write her book for a decade. She teaches teachers lots of new and creative ways to engage students in the classroom. She shows them how to manage conflict and create an environment conducive to learning. She’s been doing multi-day trainings all over the country for two decades.

Her breakthrough came when she realized that she had the book written already. It was in her head. And she’s been testing and polishing that material on stages for ages.

A simple voice-recognition app on her Mac converted her lectures into text. This method has the advantage of capturing your thoughts in your most natural voice, your speaking voice. Then she merged the text with her already-elaborate handouts. The result was a 60,000 word manuscript in two months. And the graphics have already done; they were already in the workbook.

People see you speak or teach, then take your book home. Your voice continues to ring in their ears from the page. They take you to bed. It’s very intimate.

My friend Robin Colucci, “The Get-Published Coach,” just released a new book, How to Write a Book That Sells You. She says, the best best-selling book is the one that draws clients into your practice. She says, “90 percent of your content should be based on your original stories and experience.”

From the book, you can offer the material in different formats: a keynote, a workshop, a webinar, a junket seminar, or even the $10,000-per-person-three-days-on-the-beach-in-Maui.

They will pay fifty percent more, or even double, if you’ve written a book. Clients experience you as an author, and therefore, an authority. Someone they can trust.

And I don’t mean a skinny piece of junk. The formula is six-by-nine trade paperback, 160 pages, perfect bound, glossy, non-curl cover, printed in color. Three Sections. Twelve chapters, plus back-mater, with your photo featured prominently. Cover price, $29.95. Sell them all day for $20. Everyone’s got a $20 bill.

And you can get them printed on Amazon Create Space for $3 each.  Do the math.

There’s never been a better time to be a writer.

  • ### –

Guerrilla Marketing Tips for Getting More Clients

Build a Never-Ending Stream of New Client Referrals

Expertpreneurs are constantly working on getting more clients.  Correctly targeting new clients is a lot like bowling.

getting new clientsIf you’ve ever been bowling, then you know that there are 10 pins on the deck, and the one in front is called the “Headpin.” In order to score a strike, you aim for the space just to the right (or left) of the headpin. Bowlers call this the “Pocket.” If you do this correctly, you knock down all the pins at once. Then you enjoy the mathematical advantage of counting the next two frames twice. That’s how it’s possible to score 300 points in just 10 frames.

1. Identify your Headpin Customer

The same is true of your marketing. Once you identify your Headpin Customer, the people most likely to need your expertise or services, then you can target them (and those closest to them) with extreme precision. You also unleash the power of word-of-mouth, as they recommend you to their neighbors, friends and co-workers.

Who are your favorite clients right now? Wouldn’t it be great if you had a lot more, just like them? Who are they? What do they look like? What do they do? How do they do it? What problems do they experience? How could your expertise or service help? Where would you find them? When do they need your product? Find out as much as you can: their age, gender, income, education, hobbies, and community involvement. What problems are they trying to solve? What’s their potential motivation for becoming a client?

With this information, the guerrilla can zero in on those people who have a real and urgent need.

Look for the “Trigger Event”

In the life of every customer, something happens that sets them on the path to purchase:

  • You have a flat and soon you’re shopping for new tires.
  • Take a new job, you might soon be looking for a new house.
  • I booked a series of seminars in Hawaii, so Denise and I signed up for scuba lessons.

Trigger Events happen to all sorts of people, all of the time. The important question to ask is, “what trigger events motivate people to seek out my services.”

Getting New Clients for Guitar Lessons

My friend Rob Candler has taught guitar in Boulder for many years. He’s noticed that most of his students started lessons just after buying their first guitar. So instead of advertising under “Guitar Lessons” or “Music Lessons,” (along with all his competitors) he runs his ad in the “Musical Instruments for Sale – Guitars” section of the classifieds.

For an accountant, Trigger Events might include a prospect starting a new business, opening a storefront, passing $1 million in revenue, or moving to a new location.

2. Do some reconnaissance

Once you have your prospect profiled, you can seek them out on Google, Bing, or Yahoo, searching by industry, job title and geography. Look for them in Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

You can also use Internet tools like LinkedIn to search for people who fit your ideal profile, by name, company, industry, school, job title, geography, or any of dozens of other criteria. Now you’re ready to launch your attack with surgical precision.

3. Use an unusual, creative or unexpected approach.

Linda took a new job as a sales rep for a national temporary help agency in Houston. She decided to target oil refineries because they use a lot of temps, there are a lot of them in Houston, and because they are difficult to call on, surrounded by high fences and barbed wire.

It was the week before Easter, so she goes to the Dollar Store to buy a bag of plastic eggs, the kind that snap together, thinking she’d put her business card inside and hand them out. Then a bag of jellybeans catches her eye. “A-ha, I’ll fill the eggs with jellybeans along with the card. This is fun!” Now she needs a basket, and the green cellophane grass to go with it. Caught up in this idea, she stops at a costume shop, but the only thing they have is the sort of bunny outfit you’d see in a nightclub. She thinks, “I can make this work!”getting new clients

So the next morning, she pulls her car up next to the guard shack at a local refinery.

“Hi. I’m here to deliver an Easter egg to your Human Resources Manager.”

“Who are you?” asks the guard.

“I’m the Easter Bunny!” she says, incredulously.

“Let me check.” He steps inside and makes a call. “OK, go ahead.”

She walks right in, basket on her arm, hands the HR Manager one of the eggs, says “Happy Easter,” turns and leaves.

This oil company became a major account, and within a year she was the leading Account Manager in the country.

4. Ask a lot of questions

We’re often so eager to share the good news about our business that we forget to build trust and confidence. Ask LOTS of questions. What are they using now? How much are they paying for it? What do they like most about it? What do they like least about it? Why would they want to change? And how can you help? In next month’s issue, we’ll cover The 37 Magic Selling Questions.

5. Ask for Referrals

It helps if people refer you to their friends, associates and family members. This puts you and your prospect on a common ground from the get-go. Network with bankers, lawyers, real estate agents, and other professionals who serve the same constituency of clients as you. A prospect is five times as likely to do business with you if you’ve been referred to them by a trusted advisor, so ask for, and reciprocate referrals.

3 x 3 x 6

My friend Jordan Oliver runs a landscape business called Garden Art. He tries to concentrate his work in a particular neighborhood, because traveling between jobs eats up profits. Whenever he starts installing a project, he visits each house three doors to the left, three doors to the right, and the six houses across the street.

He explains to each neighbor, “We’re doing some landscaping over here at the Hamilton’s, and I was wondering if you could help us out. For the next few days we’re going to have a lot of material and equipment on the site. Would you be a good neighbor and just help us keep an eye on things?”

Of course they agree.

“And while we’re in the neighborhood, I’d be happy to work up an estimate for any work you might need. Here’s our brochure.”

Who Else Do You Know. . .

You can help your clients suggest referrals by asking this simple question: “Who else do you know who…?” The variations run something like

  • “Who else do you know who was recently promoted?”
  • “Who else do you know who just had a baby?”
  • “Who else do you know who just moved into town?”

Likewise, people who do not have a need today may develop one later. You should touch base with every past and current customer at least quarterly, whether they buy or not. Maintain the bond. Talk about their favorite ball team, or how the kids are doing in school, or how the new location of their restaurant is working out. Most important, make the calls personal rather than strictly talking business. If you maintain the person-to-person relationship, the business relationship will take care of itself.


Deep Evaluation Guarantees Results

One of your most powerful guerrilla marketing weapons

As an expert entrepreneur, you’re offering keynotes, lectures, seminars, workshops, webinars, coaching or online training as part of your practice. (If not, you should.)

And if you’re like me (and I know I am) you probably have delegates fill out some sort of evaluation form (and if not, you should). You might even compile them into a spreadsheet and run the averages, and maybe even graph how they trend over time.

You’re still missing one of the most powerful guerrilla marketing weapons available.

What is Deep Evaluation?

Guerrillas evaluate their work on 5 levels, and follow through to verify that their clients are receiving real value. It’s the secret of repeat and referral business, and the key to effective marketing.

Level 1 – Did they LIKE it?

These are the “smile sheets” you see at the end of most seminars. Typically delegates rate the trainer, the content, the venue, even the food, on a 1 to 5 scale, something like,

I thought the trainer (pick one)

  1. Really pissed me off
  2. Is a complete idiot
  3. Was OK I guess
  4. Was RILLY terrific
  5. I hope he marries my sister

News flash! This data is meaningless.

I know a professional speaker who’s been using the same feedback form, printed on 3×5 cards, for more than 20 years. He’s compiled statistics from more than 1,000 presentations, and rightfully claims a “4.8 out of 5” average rating.   Of course, naive meeting planners might find this number compelling. But if you dress nice and tell a few funny stories, you can make any audience LIKE you, at least for 45 minutes.

Besides, it doesn’t matter if they LIKE you. If you’re challenging their assumptions, pushing their buttons and making them deal with their shit, they may just hate your guts. That’s why the client brought in an outsider.

During a customer service audit for a Las Vegas casino, the VP of Sales walked out in a rage and resigned. The CEO (my client) had been trying to get rid of this guy for months, but couldn’t push it through HR.  HE was thrilled.

Level 2 – Did they REMEMBER it?

My dear friend Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, says, “Dharling, there’s no use going anywhere they didn’t remember you were there.”

Savvy trainers TEST their audience for comprehension and recall, with multiple quizzes right after, or even during the program. Online Learning Management software typically administers a quiz after every 15-minute module, and you can’t advance ’til you pass. In most live events, the speaker seldom bothers. A forced show-of-hands, asking, “As a child, how many of you had parents?” doesn’t count. (BTW, this question will typically produce a 75% response. Yes, I have tested it. )

People tend to remember the first point you make, the last thing they hear, and the most unusual story or example. Typically an audience will forget 40% of your content within 20 minutes, 55% after one hour, 62% after 9 hours, 70% after two days, and 73% after six days. After 30 days you’re lucky if they retain 15%. So make your content memorable with stories, examples, images, iconographics, mnemonics, and emotional stories.

Testing for retention has another advantage; it can be an effective review.   Email a quiz, or better still, use an online tool like Survey Monkey to insure that they REMEMBER the main points.

Level 3 – Did they USE it?

It’s wonderful when they LIKE you; even better when they REMEMBER your content. But it’s of no real value until they USE it. Your impact is measured by your ability to change behavior, and if nobody bothers to apply the “3 Traits of Top Leaders” then your keynote was just expensive entertainment. For the same fee they could have gotten Garth Brooks.

Contact your client within a week, or 30 days at the latest, and ask, “How did you apply the “6 Strategies of Effective Customer Service.” Did they actually change the outbound recording on their voice mail, as you recommended? Have they re-written the brochure to highlight benefits instead of features? Did they stop answering the phone, “Hello, what the hell do you want?” Build your program around specific, actionable items that they must complete, tied to a deadline.

Bundling a few weeks of Accountability Coaching into the package is a sure-fire way to guarantee that they will make the changes. A weekly phone call, or even a guilt-trip email, is usually enough to nudge them along. Otherwise, like nuns, they slip back into the same old habits.

Level 4 – Did it WORK?

OK, they really LIKED your engaging and entertaining program. You’ve helped them REMEMBER the content with quizzes and tests. And you’ve kept in touch to make sure they USE the new skills. But did it WORK? Just because you’ve given them what you believe is sound advice, it might not work at all. It might have been inappropriate for their industry. Structural obstacles, corporate culture, or even a rogue CEO can sabotage your solutions.

No matter who’s at fault, if it didn’t WORK, you need to know, and you need to know why. You may be peddling obsolete or ineffective advice.  Clients revere you as an expert, so you have a fiduciary obligation to make absolutely certain your council is sound.

Level 5 – What was it WORTH?

If they LIKE it and REMEMBER it and USE it and it WORKS, that’s just swell. You’ve lived up to your reputation as a guru. You can cash the check with a clear conscience. But you’re missing a tremendous opportunity. How much value did your training, coaching or consultation produce? Did they save a bundle by re-negotiating the supply chain? Did they see an increase in sales, or a big bump up in customer satisfaction? How much was that WORTH? Find out. If you’ve been following up, keeping them accountable and tracking results, this should be an easy calculation.

My friend Heather Lutze is an international speaker and expert on “Findability,” how to get your website found by customers who are ready to buy. She recently attended a 5-day seminar taught by Callan Rush on “Magnetize your Audience.” When she told me the registration fee was $10,000, I thought she was throwing her money away.

At the beginning of Callan’s seminar, she gave everyone $25 in singles. Then they had two minutes to pitch an offering to their group that they could buy using only these bills. Over the course of the five days, every participant was required to develop an offering, analyze the benefits, and write a script. They were organized into teams with a coach to refine it, then presented it to the rest of the attendees. Whoever sold the most was declared the winner. They repeated variations of this exercise several times. The finalists were given a half-hour to pitch a real offer using real order forms. Not only did Heather win the competition, but by the end of the workshop she had enrolled six people in her new Findability Profits Lab at $1,997 each, earning $11,982. She had earned a 120% return on her investment before she left for the airport. Callan Rush can sleep well knowing that her techniques are effective, and she’s genuinely helping other professionals grow their business.

$3.6 Million

Recently I got a call from Bob Purvis, CEO of Purvis Industries, a bearing services company based in Houston. They had invited me to conduct a half-day seminar on “How to Sell More at Higher Prices” for 200 Service Center Managers. We brought in a video crew and sent the edited DVD to all 600 employees.

Bob called to say, “We’ve just had our first $10 million dollar month since 2007, and we’ve increased our gross margin by 3%.” That may not sound like much, but 3% of $10 million over 12 months equals $3.6 million in new NET PROFIT. It was the difference that kept them out of bankruptcy, and saved more than 1,000 jobs.

Once you find out what it was WORTH, now you have a real-life success story to share. And when you can deliver value like that, they’ll never flinch at your fee.

Internet Radio – Your 15 Minutes of Fame

How to Get the Most from Your Internet Radio Interview

internet radioInternet Radio is a favorite Guerrilla Marketing weapon. Radio is the most intimate of all media. It reaches a wide audience. It can be deployed over and over. And it’s free.

This week, Hannah Leigh Myers, a Freelance Reporter and News Producer with KGNU radio, interviewed my wife, Denise Wilson (who is a professional botanist, and an expert on orchids) about Wild Orchids in Colorado. You can listen to the five-minute segment here.

Denise learned several important lessons in the process.

Hannah surprised us by arriving at our home with a hot microphone in hand, so be prepared. “Script out what you want to say in advance,” Denise recommends. “Make sure you cover your most important points, because the focus you have in mind might be very different from the agenda of the show’s Host.”

Of the more than two hours they spent together, the show was cut to five minutes. “Cover your points as succinctly as you can,” she suggests.   “Five minutes goes by very, very fast.”

Curb your Ego

When you get that call, it’s tempting to say YES!! But before you agree, visit their website, see who else has been on the show, and listen to some segments. This will give you a sense of the tone, content and audience.

I was recently asked to do a show for “event planners,” in the UK. Checking their website revealed that this program was for wedding planners. You know, I’ve never keynoted a wedding.  My target audience is Corporate Meeting Planners.

Take the Initiative

The easiest way to get invited to be a radio show guest is to e-mail a brief pitch letter to the Producer (not the Host). Your pitch shows them why you’d make a great guest. Like your Elevator Pitch (which we wrote about in the July edition) the pitch should be short and direct. Summarize what you want to share: information, tips, advice, or insights. Then highlight your credentials to talk on this topic. Your pitch should reflect your understanding of the show’s format and audience.

When possible, tie your pitch to a current event, trend or controversy. For example, if you’re an attorney specializing in bankruptcy, and there is a change in the bankruptcy laws, then you would be a great guest to talk about the ins-and-outs of the new law.

Never pitch your company directly. These people are not interested in giving you free advertising. Instead, make your pitch about a problem or issue that connects their audience to your area of expertise.

Include an attention-grabbing subject line to insure your pitch will get read.

Choose the Right Shows

Once you’ve developed a compelling pitch, put together a list of the shows you believe to be good match. Google “radio talk shows in (name of city)”. This will bring up several pages of listings, with links to the stations and their contact information.

Each station’s web site should provide the name of the show, the kind of guests that appear, and the name of the show’s Producer. If these details aren’t included, call the station and ask.

Some shows limit their interviews to specific topics, like personal finance, investing, current events, personal growth and development, or small business, while others cover a wide range of subjects. “Colorado Matters” is a prime example. This local NPR affiliate airs a weekly 30-minute show focusing on government, education, environment, health, business, economics, science, technology, arts and culture.   Suggesting a story is as simple as going to their website.

Follow a similar process to develop a list of shows that air on satellite and Internet radio. Start with Sirius XM and look at their lineup. Then Google “Internet radio stations” for more options. Blogtalk Radio is an example of an Internet radio station.

My long-time friend Joe Sabah teaches a course on How to Get on Radio Talk Shows All Across America Without Leaving Your Home or Office. He has compiled a list of more than 800 AM radio talk shows, listing the Producer, the Host, schedule and contact information. Every day, every one of these stations has 24 hours to fill, and they want to hear from YOU! At $147 it’s a steal.

Once you’ve targeted a particular show, fine-tune your pitch to include the title and slant. Include links to audio or video of other interviews you’ve done. Don’t add attachments.

Follow Up

Producers are always busy trying to make their next deadline, so make their job easy.   Follow up your email a couple of days later with a phone message, and remind them of your interest. Persist.

Once they’ve agreed to have you on, send the Host a List of Suggested Questions. This is how you make sure they will cover the points that are most important to you. Most Hosts are grateful for the support. It gives the show a roadmap to follow.

Give Them an Introduction

Unless your host is Terri Gross, you can be certain they won’t read your book, or your website, or even your introduction. So ALWAYS send a written introduction, and make it clear that you expect them to READ it. I recently found myself lost for words when an interviewer opened her show with, “Orvel Ray, why don’t you start by telling us a little about yourself.” That’s just rude. You can’t babble about your accomplishments without sounding arrogant. I excused myself and ended the conversation right there. Your introduction lays the foundation for the interview.

Your introduction should:

1)   describe a problem shared by members of the audience,

2)   outline the guest’s qualifications to speak to that problem, and

3)   make a big promise, tell the audience what they will learn or gain from listening.

And the first time the audience hears your name should be at the very END of the introduction.

On the Air

Record your interview in a studio if possible. Travel to their local affiliate, or have them visit your home or office. These days most guest interviews are done over the phone. Your old-fashioned land line works best. Avoid SKYPE or other VOIP connections because they will drop out and cause technical flaws. For the same reason, never use a mobile phone or a wireless headset.

Stand up. It gives your voice more energy and excitement.

Keep your answers succinct. You should have a clear idea what you want to say in response to the questions you’ve supplied. Use short stories and examples to maintain the interest of your audience. Remember why you’re there. You’re the entertainment.

Include a Call to Action

Ask your host to insert, just before the station break, the comment, “Get a pen and paper ready, because after the break I’m going to be sharing how you can get (your new e-book, service, or offer).” That way, listeners are poised to write down your toll-free number or email address.
internet radio
Watch the clock carefully, and make sure you leave enough time to cover your planned questions, repeat your call-to-action, and wrap the show.

Now Push it on Social Media

Find out when the segment will air, or better still, get a hyperlink to the playback, and share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. Feature it in your website. This positions you as THE go-to expert on your subject.

Do it right and your phone will be ringing off the hook!

Guerrilla Marketing When YOU are the Product

I answered the phone, “Good morning, this is Orvel Ray.”

There was a short silence. Then a woman’s voice, “I’m surprised you answered! It took me back for a moment.”

“Well, if you ever call here, and another man answers, please let me know.”

She chuckled, and then offered, “This is Linda from Washington Speakers Bureau. I’m trying to reach the office of The Guerrilla Marketing Group.”

“You got it. And it’s just me and Denise. Several years ago we built an addition on our house, closed our downtown office, and fired everyone. Now we both work from home, here in the mountains of Colorado.”

“Oh, that must be beautiful!”

“It is. You can come and stay. Now that the boys are grown we have a spare room, and at this altitude, we don’t get much company.”

“I was just shocked that you answered your own phone?”

“Well, who else’s phone would you have me answer?”

Your Identity as a Guerrilla Marketing Weapon

Many experts, consultants, and professionals worry WAY too much about their “professional” image. They think they need an expensive office and a perky receptionist or they won’t be taken seriously. It took years for me to realize that being able to run my business while avoiding the commute, the expense and the hassle of managing a staff, is also a huge credibility builder. It’s a lifestyle most envy.

Image vs. Identity

Guerrilla marketing professionals know that it’s more important for clients know you by your identity, who you really are, rather than to trying to project an image. An image, by definition, is a reflection, a facsimile, a fake. When YOU are the product, your clients want to know who you REALLY are; your quirks, your family, your faults, your hobbies and interests. And they want to know where you live, so if they’re ever dissatisfied they can come punch you in the nose.

Certainly you should dress up on client visits or conferences. But clients prefer a personal relationship, especially with their Trusted Advisers. The more they get to know the “real you” the more they trust your expertise and rely on your advice.

Put your picture on everything

Many years ago, we recommended to a small real estate brokerage that they should require all their agents to include their photo on their business cards. For some of you, this might not be such a good idea, but stick with me here. Today, they’re one of the largest real estate companies in the country. I can’t mention their name, but I believe they sell Moore real estate than any other Company I know.

Guerrilla MarketingThat’s because your brain has a  dedicated area for remembering faces (the Fusiform Face Area, part of the occipitotemporal gyrus). But the part that remembers names (the left hemispheric lingual gyrus) is built for processing language, so it has trouble recalling names.

That’s why, when you go to a networking event, everyone is wearing a NAME TAG. Scientists say it’s because we evolved from troops of social primates. Before the evolution of language, our ancestors relied on faces to discriminate between tribe (good) and outsiders (bad!). So put your picture on your business cards, your stationary, on all of your marketing materials, and most important, on your social media profiles. The more often they see your face, the more familiar (as in family) you become.

And while I’m on this particular soapbox, use a professional headshot. Done in a studio. There’s a reason they call it FACEbook. A picture’s worth 1,000 words, so let’s be very careful what your picture says about you. Business attire, neutral background, cropped close; not some selfie you shot slamming shots with your sister (yes, I have seen it).

Especially on LinkedIn. I will connect with anyone on LinkedIn, UNLESS they put up a picture of their cat; or worse, that scary grey silhouette.

Meet for coffee over SKYPE

If you work with clients remotely, SKYPE is a great way to create a powerful personal connection. And it’s free (Guerrilla Marketing’s favorite word). They see your face, your desk, the junk on your bookshelf. You can share documents, presentations, or your three-year-old daughter singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” (Yes, I actually have seen it). It really is the next best thing to being there. And for gawd’s sake look at that thumbnail. How are you framed? How is the light? Makes me crazy when a client SKYPEs me while sitting in front of the windows, curtains drawn wide, and all I see is a skyline and a scary silhouette.

While you’re at it, invest in a high-quality webcam. I use the Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam (about $250 bucks. Google it). Not because I’m a tech geek, but because a client in Saudi Arabia gave it to me as a gift. You see, when they put our conversation up on the 40-inch plasma in the boardroom, the camera in my MacBook Pro made my face look like a pizza.

Another tip learned the hard way: remember to look directly into the camera. I made the mistake of looking down at my PowerPoint and the client felt like I was staring at her, uhmmm, let’s just say, “jewelry.”

Tell the truth

This big white envelope arrived in the mail. Big red letters on the outside said, “THIS IS NOT A BILL.” Inside, the letter explained, “That was the envelope. THIS is the bill.” So I paid it.

People appreciate when you tell the truth, especially about the little things. I’ve had clients call from Australia at 3:00 AM and ask, “Did I wake you?”

“Well, no. Not yet.”

And yes, I’m writing this in my underwear.

Separate the personal from the professional

Social media is the exception that proves the rule. A teacher who worked at a small Christian college in Texas was traveling in London, standing as a bridesmaid for a friend. The bride posted an iCam shot of the girls sitting around a booth (at the bachelorette party, I presume) with a glass of wine in the foreground. When she returned to Texas, the teacher was fired for “Inappropriate Public Conduct,” a violation of her contract. No she wasn’t DRINKING the wine, or even HOLDING the wine. It wasn’t even her wine. Fortunately Facebook now gives you the option to delete content posted by others that you might not want others to see.

Burj Al Arab Hotel

Gratuitous Burj Al Arab Hotel

The things you DO post should pass the test of professional relevance. If you’re leading an executive seminar in Dubai, then by all means, comment and Facebook and Tweet about it, including gratuitous pictures of the Burj Al Arab Hotel.  Knowing you’re a globetrotter gives you credibility along with frequent-flyer miles.

Better still, put your client in front of a video camera telling us how great the seminar was, and upload it to YouTube. Save the vacation slides for torturing your neighbors when you get home.

You may not know this, but in addition to my speaking and consulting practice, I lead a Batman-like double life, as a drummer in a professional 20-piece swing-era big band. Being a jazz musician doesn’t exactly enhance my credibility as a marketing guru. That’s why I keep them separate. They have their own social media pages and their own YouTube channel, and all my musician friends have to call me “Sticks”… but that’s another story.

Your Elevator Pitch Gets Them on the Train

Do you struggle to find new clients? The problem may be your Elevator Pitch.

Ask, “What sort of work do you do?” and most people will respond with one word.

“Accountant.”  “Engineer.”  “Consultant.”

The Secret is to Get Them on the Train

Just this afternoon, our local NPR station was running a fundraiser. Your contribution earns a chance to win an Australian vacation.  The announcers droned on and on about how this was “a trip of a lifetime,” and “worth $8,000,” and “you’ll see penguins and kolas,” while repeating the phone number incessantly. Yawn.

But then they played a segment from the travel agent as he described the train ride to Adelaide.elevator pitch “Leaving Melbourne at 8:00, you’ll be in the Premier Red seats, so you’ll have a really comfy seat, and great big picture windows that gaze out at the countryside. You’ll pass through Eucalyptus forests, rolling green farmland, and expansive desert plains. You’ll arrive in Adelaide around 6:00.” In great detail, he described the route of this amazing adventure. Instead of dreading a 10 hour trip, I could almost see the kangaroos bouncing across the far horizon as I drove. And the studio phones started ringing.

The lesson for guerrilla marketers is that it’s not enough to parrot your profession. It’s not even enough to promise a benefit.   You have to show them where they’re going, and what they’ve left behind.

Imagine, standing on the platform, and this train is about to embark on a wonderful journey. You shout, “Hey, there’s lots of open seats. It’ll be great! All you have to do is step aboard.   We’ll have you home by supper!”

The train, of course, is you and the wonderful work you do with your clients. Their computers are humming, they have a new resume headshot, or they’ve settled a tax problem. You help clients get from “here” (they have a problem to solve) to “there” (you’ve helped them solve it.) Now take them on that journey. Let them experience what it’s like to work with you.

Blow the Guerrilla Marketing Whistle

One of the most awesome weapons in your Guerrilla Marketing Arsenal is your Elevator Pitch. That’s the script you use when someone asks, “So, what do you do?” If you had only 20 or 30 seconds to engage them, what would you say to get their attention, not counting, “Sorry, but I believe your pants are on fire”?

Your Guerrilla Elevator Pitch consists of three parts: 1) what you do, 2) who you do it for, and 3) two ways they benefit.

“At the Guerrilla Group, we help small business use low-cost marketing to increase sales and build profits.”

That’s like blowing the whistle on the train. You’ve gotten their attention, or not.

If not, that’s a good thing, because this trip is not for everyone. People will either say, “That’s nice!” (translation: I could care less now buzz-off) or, “Hummm. . . that’s interesting,” (tell me more).

Instead of, “I’m a tax accountant,” how about, “I help honest small-business owners take every legal deduction, and save them thousands of dollars in taxes.”

Instead of “environmental engineering,” try, “We help small cities recover quickly after severe storms or floods, and help minimize damage in the future.”

Instead of “SEO consultant,” what if you said, “I help companies get found on the Internet, and attract their best prospects, right when they’re most motivated to buy.”

You get the idea.  Notice the structure. What. Who. And two benefits.

How long? Like a mini-skirt; short enough to be interesting and just long enough to cover the essentials.

“But what if I have more than one area of expertise?” Maybe you’re like my good friend Debi. She’s a very fine jazz pianist, but she also teaches piano, tutors elementary math and English, and teaches Japanese to professionals.

That’s simple. You need a value proposition for each offering, and each audience. So Debi might say, “I help elementary grade children to excel at math.” OR she might say, “I teach executives who travel abroad essential Japanese; at least enough to really impress their clients.”

It depends on who’s in the elevator. Smart guerrilla marketers will write several, edit them to the nub, and memorize them verbatim.

Why two benefits?

That’s because some people are motivated toward some positive outcome, or away from some problem or pain. People who are toward-motivated buy lottery tickets. People who are away-from buy flight insurance. So your value proposition is going to be most effective if it includes one of each. Where is the train going to go, and what are we leaving behind.

Use Powerful Language in your Elevator Pitch

There are many variations on this list. One myth is that Yale University researchers some how discovered the 12 most persuasive words in English. The truth is even more interesting. On August 14, 1961, an add appeared in the New York Times, with the headline, “The New Sell.”

“Most persuasive selling words, according to recent researches: You, Easy, Money, Save, Love, New, Discovery, Results, Proven, Health, Guarantee.” — Marketing Magazine

The research may be a myth, but the words are indeed persuasive. In 1963, David Ogilvy, in his seminal book, Confessions of an Advertising Man, published his own list of the 20 most persuasive words in advertising:

  1. suddenly
  2. now
  3. announcing
  4. introducing
  5. improvement
  6. amazing
  7. sensational
  8. remarkable
  9. revolutionary
  10. startling
  11. miracle
  12. magic
  13. offer
  14. quick
  15. easy
  16. wanted
  17. challenge
  18. compare
  19. bargain
  20. hurry

Ogilvy became the most famous copywriter in the world, and built the tenth biggest agency in the world. So hurry, and get on the train. These words work like magic. You’ll see amazing improvement. The results are remarkable.

Now you can tell a story

You’re ready to deploy your Capabilities Statement, (which we discussed in the May issue).   This is where you describe the journey, step-by-step. That gets them gazing out the window.

A consultant might say, “I’ve been working with an electrical testing company in the UK. We meet every week over SKYPE to discuss whatever challenges the owner happens to be facing that week. This client — I’ll call him James, because, that’s his name — wanted to grow the business by advertising for new customers. I advised that we begin by recording and analyzing the inbound telephone calls they were already receiving. A team of three salespeople were taking 20 to 30 inquires a day, but only closing 50%.

“I listened to the recordings and found two important flaws. They weren’t building rapport and they weren’t closing. The owner changed the script, and a month later, they’re closing 75%. Now, tell me about your business?”

See, NOW they’re on the train, ready to join you on a journey of their own. –Orvel Ray Wilson