Here's a bonus commandment. I thought I'd make it a bonus because 11 would sound a little funny, wouldn't you think? And it is indeed a bonus since, with all that you have learned, you would never be as effective if I didn't give this extra piece of advice while implementing the first 10.
I can never stress enough, whether it's in this book or in my seminars that, in order to create endless streams of new, repeat and referral business, you must turn every single nook-and-cranny of your business into an effective marketing system. Everything you do must become a marketing activity.
In other words, every step you take during the normal course of your daily business activities must include making yourself known as the expert in your field — at least in the minds of those who are in it. All your correspondence, literature, promotional materials and advertising must contain at least eight or nine of these commandments — although 10 would be more effective.
The power of the written word has been proven to be of immense proportions. Roger Dawson, in his book “The Secrets of Power Negotiating: How to Get Anything You Want,” emphasized a universal law, which states that people will believe more what they see in writing than what they don't see in writing.
As Roger points out: “If it is said it could be true, but if it is written then it must be true.” Therefore, when positioning your firm or product, your efforts will be far more effective if they are done through the written word.
For example, writing your own book is indeed an effective if not essential tool for establishing your credibility. They say that you must “publish or perish.”
Today, that statement has greater meaning. In an society where people are constantly bombarded with marketing messages and leery of claims of any kind, the process of communicating your uniqueness, your competitive advantage and especially your expertise through the written word (such as by writing books, articles, endorsements, reviews and press releases) is far more credible and believable than any direct promotional message.
Nevertheless, start by putting things down in writing. If you don't have a brochure or publicity kit, make one! If your fees are not listed on a fee schedule for all your clients to see, print one! If articles written by or about you have been published, make copies and pass them around!
If you have reference letters written by clients who initially had concerns or objections, offer copies to prospects who have the same concerns! If you don't yet have a catalog of your products or services (both in a packaged form and in divisions), including your lead generators, create one!
I may be overly emphasizing the importance of putting things down in writing, but I feel that I can never stress it enough. Realize that the above items, along with all of the tools that you've learned in the previous commandments, are crucially important to have in writing in some form or another in order to create lasting top-of-mind awareness. The written word is immensely powerful!
Let's take the example of the cosmetic surgeon one more time.
A patient being consulted for surgery has concerns about pain. Now, if the doctor says that the procedure is painless, his will be somewhat believable. But how much more believable will it be if the doctor pulled out of a binder a testimonial written by a patient, one who had the exact same concern prior to his surgery, and in it claimed that the procedure was indeed painless?
Let me share with you what I do in my own consulting practice. For instance, in my car or in my travels, I not only carry a promotional kit but also usually carry several large briefcases that contain the following items:
A Business Portfolio
This is a large three-ring binder that contains copies of ads, books, white papers, booklets, business forms, radio scripts, flyers, direct-mail pieces, infomercials, sales letters and commercials that I produced. In short, my portfolio provides samples of my work (some are now digitized on my laptop).
A Reference Binder
This binder contains just testimonials written by satisfied clients. But the neat part if that they are grouped — where a group represents letters from clients who had a specific concern. The binder is neatly divided into sections for quick retrieval in case I need to convince a prospect with a similar objection.
A Presentation Binder
Being a computer lover, I use PowerPoint Presentations. But if my laptop doesn't work for any reason, I use my presentation binder. It contains an overview of my company, my brochures, lists of my products and services, fee schedules, lists of past clients and sample contracts. It also contains charts, graphs, statistics and “ticklers” that will help to sell me and my services.
And Media Kits (lots of them!)
I always carry around a large quantity of press kits that contain recent news releases, articles written by and about me, transcripts of interviews, brochures and business cards, books and reports that I've written, awards and letters of recognition, recent copies of my newsletters and of course my résumés.
If you don't have a laptop computer, you can still create a larger presentation binder offering the materials that I just described. You can purchase a special binder that bends halfway and props up on a table or desk. While you don't have to have the entire package I just gave you as an example, you can fit most of it into your special binder and use it as your “bible.”
Finally, a quick word about written materials. Some years ago, I came across an article (I believe it was in “Entrepreneur Magazine”) that gave interesting statistics gathered from a recent survey conducted by a direct-mail marketing firm for a credit card company. The survey found the following results.
Documents that are high in contrast (i.e., dark print on light colored paper) have pulled a greater response over colored print on colored paper. (And they also found that the higher the contrast is, the greater the response will be).
For example, it found that traditional black on white is best, yet color on white or black print on light colored paper is acceptable. As long as you maintain a contrast between your text the paper you print them on, you're rolling.
The research also showed that borders (frames around texts) seemed to have increased readership by 20% over plain text with faint or nonexistent borders. It also found that certain words pulled more than others, including the words “save,” “free” and “discover.” Using the right words that pull the best deserves a book of its own — or a copywriter like me! But for now, just remember to try using these words in your printed materials as much as possible.
(By the way, although I don't remember since this article appeared many years ago, it is my guess that one of these three words eventually became the name of that credit card company conducting the research!)
And more important, make sure they all contain if not stress your name, tagline, specialization and unique category.
It is my sincere hope that these power positioning strategies will help you create endless streams of new, repeat and referral business. I wish you good luck, both on your quest for increased business and greater business health!
The Success Doctor, Inc.
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.