Success Doctor

 

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF POWER POSITIONING

Magical Marketing Strategies for Creating an Endless Stream of New,
Repeat, and Referral Business

Copyright © 1998 Michel Fortin, Ph.D.

COMMANDMENT #10

THOU SHALL MAKE THY NET WORK

Yes! We've made it! The last Commandment. And what better way would there be to end this booklet that's chock-full of marketing secrets other than by telling you about something I truly hate. I hate networking. Really, I do! I hate it because, in my experience, it hasn't brought me anything substantial in return.

But wait a minute. Hear me out. Networking isn't a bad concept, far from it. If the above Commandments have been properly followed, especially in today's world of hypercompetitiveness, networking can be a fantastic marketing tool. If you can be at the top of your prospects' minds, you can also be at the top of your network's mind, right? Your special name, your tagline, your unique product or service, your free reports, your lead generators, your celebrity status, and your support systems, all added to your network of referral-sources, can and should bring you an incredible amount of business.

However, here's the problem. Having a network and having a networking system are two entirely separate things. When you're only networking, more often than not people will want something in return or else they will either stop sending you clients or simply lose interest (if you don't take the time to recognize their efforts, and that's if you have any time left at all). So, how can you reward your network? Better yet, how can you turn your network into a networking system? The answer is by developing and establishing a network of strategic alliances.

All throughout this report you have read about techniques in setting up strategic alliances in some form or another. They were included in the many examples you've read up to now. Essentially, there are as many different forms of systematized networking opportunities out there as there are businesses, and I strongly encourage you to vigorously seek them out. But in my experience, I have found that they mainly fall into 3 major categories. The first is what I call the info-network, the second the auto-network, and the third one the intra-network. Let's take a look at each of these systems and how you can apply them to your situation.

Info-Networking

The information-based network is one in which a strategic alliance is created where information is exchanged in some form or another between parties. Basically, that information includes qualified leads that both you and your alliance share, or information about each other that is promoted to each party's market. As long as your strategic alliance logically shares a same target market without directly competing with you, there is an immense potential there for you to consider.

For instance, I mentioned to you earlier about the power behind the free report and especially the newsletter. Advertising space can be sold at a nominal cost in order to pay for the printing and distribution of your newsletter, or it can be offered to alliances that might be happily interested in being directly promoted to your market. In turn, you should seek out advertising spaces in newsletters, brochures, corporate literature, or catalogues of potentially mutually beneficial alliances. If you have a newsletter, the obvious advantage is that it can save you money by swapping spaces in each other's communications, without costing you a great deal if not anything at all.

This also refers to mailing lists where you can swap each other's prospect or client lists. Mailing lists seem to have increased tremendously in popularity these days and, if used properly, can produce pretty good results. Mailing list brokers sell or lease mailing lists you can use to conduct direct mail and telemarketing campaigns – lists of people that fit into your specific set of demographics. However, beware. Brokers' mailing lists will be limited to only the demographic data you specify and not the psychographic element of your target market. (That's impossible to discern, unless you or the brokers were psychics!) But should you decide to use these lists to market your free report offer, it should yield you a substantially greater result than ordinary, unsolicited, general public mailings.

For instance, direct mail directed to the public, according to statistics, usually result in a mere 1 to 5% response (if not less), while direct mail to a predetermined demographical market will likely produce an 8 to 13% response. However, if your free report is used in your campaign, and if your goal is only to generate pre-qualified leads and not immediate sales or clients, your chances of beating the 25% mark will be easy.

Now, mailing list brokers aside, you can seek out strategic alliances and ask, rent, or buy their list of prospects and clients. Most of them will approve especially when you trade your list of clients or prospects with them. But if you have to rent or buy their list, the cost will definitely be far less than that of one coming from a broker. (They're not cheap!) And most strategic alliances are not accustomed to the idea of peddling their lists out and will therefore be happy with just a few bucks.

Auto-Networking

Auto-networking is the process of creating referral-sources that automatically supply you with good quality leads, without you having to lift a finger. Brochure stands, posters, flyers, coupons, and business cards can be set up at the offices of potential referral-sources. Again, I hate networking, especially when I have to work for them (or, in other words, nurture them). So, auto-networking doesn't mean to give out cards or literature to a possible referral-source and then hoping it will produce something in return. It means setting up a system between both of you where, since you are catering to a same market, you have made an arrangement – in writing, if possible – to constantly supply each other with materials.

An example is a dry-cleaner who discovered that the largest clientele of a busy restaurant near its location was mostly made up of executives having power lunches (those business lunches the tax people love to hate). The dry-cleaner, knowing that her greatest clientele is also made up of executives who bring their shirts or dresses in to have cleaned, saw it as an opportunity. Coupons were made up and handed out by the restaurant's waiters and waitresses along with their clients' food tabs. They offered a 5% percent discount on dry-cleaning services and the coupons could be accumulated up to a maximum of 25% – of course, they were valid for a limited time only. In return, the dry-cleaner handed out coupons (clipped to the garment bags of their clients' dry-cleaning) offering a free appetizer or desert at that particular restaurant – good for one per person per lunch – with every load of $30 worth of dry-cleaning.

But it didn't stop there. They exchanged posters, flyers, coupons for other services, and others (as, for instance, the restaurant's menu and the dry-cleaner's brochure). They marketed it all under the banner of Don't let the spot on your shirt from the juiciest roast beef in town at Carmichea's Restaurant ruin that big deal! Bring it to Sparkling Cleaners, the first dry-cleaner for the busy executive, because Power Lunches Deserve a Clean Image.TM With Carmicheal's Executive EatingTM and Sparkling Cleaners, you can take your clients to lunch and take a bite out of dirt!

By the way, I must take a moment to ask you a question. (Oh, oh, you say. Here he comes with another pop quiz again.) In the previous example, particularly in the marketing approach the dry-cleaner and restaurant took on, were included some of my other Commandments. Can you guess what they are? The obvious ones are hard to miss. They both carried the trademark symbols, indicated that they specialized in one area, and had taglines added to their names. But the one that might have gone unnoticed is the category in which the dry-cleaner placed itself. Being the first dry-cleaner specializing in executive dry-cleaning is probably a little misleading and most likely untrue, but by calling itself the first dry-cleaner for the busy executive, it has created its own unique category. (All right, all right. I was just checking!)

Another form of auto-networking is, as the saying goes, You can't teach an old dog a new trick, but you can surely teach a new dog to cook you breakfast! Potential referral-sources who are either approached by competitors or already implicated in other commitments may make it hard for you to create positive networking systems. So, what can you do? You get them while they're starting out!

Previously, I showed you how important it is for you to make yourself known in your market or industry as the expert, the celebrity in your field. By conducting speeches, seminars, sponsorships, and the like, you are making your name a household one and creating that all-important top-of-mind awareness. Many of the members in your audience should encompass possible referral-sources. But referral-sources have to come from somewhere, don't they? So, if you can approach them while they are just about to become potential targets for your competitors, you can save yourself a lot of effort let alone grief.

For example, I teach hair transplant doctors to get themselves known among the hairdressing community and possibly set up strategic alliances with them by, among other things, setting up brochure stands in their salons. However, many of these stylists may have already been approached by other doctors or may have a fixed idea in their minds of which doctor they would refer their clients to for cosmetic surgery.

In my consulting work, I help doctors to set up special presentations as guest lecturers at local hairstyling and beauty schools. Schools love it, since it's part of their curriculum to teach future hairstylists on the mechanics of hair growth and hair transplantation. Some provinces or states also make it an essential part of their licensing requirements. By giving a lecture or presentation, the doctor not only gets his name inculcated into the minds of these future hairstylists, but he has also created an almost impenetrable barrier against competitors wanting a piece-of-the-pie.

By being part of their schooling, doctors naturally became a part of their minds! This technique can be applied in almost every industry, with trade schools, business schools, community colleges, government services, unemployment insurance subsidized courses, and so on. A government software programmer can give a small computer presentation during courses that the government provides to recently-hired purchasing agents. A wedding planning consultant can give small courses to church groups offering pre-nuptial courses (often referred to as marriage preparation courses) for engaged couples in their parish or community. An accountant specializing in corporate taxation can give small seminars to young entrepreneur workshops (most chambers of commerce offer this type of service). And the list goes on.

Intra-Networking

Think of intracorporate divisions, Intranet, and intrapreneurs (or employees owning a portion of their employer's company). Intra-anything simply means two or more parts of a whole that are independent but at the same time inter-dependent. This is the old bartering system that goes back since the beginning of time. In the context of auto-networking, though, bartering is not a direct exchange of service for service or product for product, but an exchange of a service or product for information, clients, or referrals.

For instance, a restaurant owner makes an arrangement with a local gas station to offer coupons to each client that comes to pump gas. They were given the permission to hang posters in the station, leave menus at the counter, and place stickers or fridge magnets on the pumps. In return, for every 10 coupons the restaurant received, the employees at the station were given a free meal at the restaurant. A freelance writer/editor writes articles in corporate newsletters that target a same market. She will have her articles and personal advertisements published for free in exchange for editing their business correspondence let alone the newsletter itself. Hotels make up the majority of the clientele of an advertising agent specializing in elevator advertising. Hotels place the agent's brochures in all the vacant hotel rooms and executive suites for free in exchange for free advertising space in the elevators of businesses and office buildings.

What kind of product or service do you offer from which a potential (and potentially effective) referral-source may benefit? Think of ways of being able to offer your services for free in exchange for pre-qualified leads or, as mentioned in info-networking, client lists. Intra-networking can also become powerfully effective if you were lucky enough to stumble onto another company that offers products or services that complement your products or services well, while at the same time sharing costs as well as leads or clients.

Take the case of the printer and wedding planner mentioned in an earlier example. Now, this might relate more closely to the auto-networking style, but if the printer agrees to print your promotional materials, business cards, brochures, and letterhead for free, in exchange for a certain number of your clients, that's intra-networking at work!

Altogether, info-networking, auto-networking, and intra-networking are powerful tools to help make you create good referral-sources that work and never stop working. The idea is nonetheless to network but to do so wisely so as to be able to create as many leads and clients as possible with the least amount of effort. Don't network. Make your net work for you!

BONUS COMMANDMENT!

THOU SHALL PUT IT IN WRITING

Here's a bonus Commandment. I thought I'd make it a bonus because 11 Commandments would sound a little funny, wouldn't you think? And it is indeed a bonus since, with all that you have learned up to now, you would never be as effective if I didn't tell you to put what you've learned in writing.

I can never stress enough, whether it's in this booklet, in my consulting work, 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 and profitable marketing system. Every step you take during the normal course of your business activities should include making yourself known as the king or queen in your field, or at least in the minds of those who are in it. Therefore, all forms of correspondence, literature, promotional materials, advertising, and so on must contain at least 8 or 9 of these Commandments – although all 10 would be much more effective.

The power of the written word has been proven scientifically, time and time again, to be of immense proportions. It all boils down to what I call a universal law, which says, People will believe more what they see in writing than what they don't see in writing. If you don't have a brochure or publicity kit already made up, 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, put copies in one single binder for your clients' perusal! If you have reference letters, especially letters written by clients who initially had concerns or objections, offer copies of them to prospects who have the same concern! If you don't yet have a catalogue of your services and/or products (both in a packaged form and in divisions), 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 the tools you've learned in the 10 previous commandments, are crucially important to have in writing in order to create top-of-mind awareness. In my car, I have a large suitcase that contains the following items:

A Business Portfolio: Containing copies of ads, books, business forms, radio scripts, flyers, direct-mail pieces, infomercials, and commercials I produced.

A Reference Binde: Containing letters written by clients who had previous concerns and neatly divided into sections for quick retrieval in case I have a prospect with a similar objection.

A Presentation Binder: Containing an overview of my company, my brochures, lists of my products and services, fee schedules, lists of past clients, and sample contracts.

Media Kits: Containing press and news releases, articles written by and about me, transcripts of taped interviews, my brochure and business cards, my reports, recent copies of my newsletters, and my resumes.

And a Special Interests Portfolio: Containing stuff I do on the side, including CD's I've recorded with my band, motivational tapes I've produced, brochures on lectures and seminars I give on spirituality and philosophy, and non-work related articles I've written.

On top of all that, I have a laptop computer on which I have a pre-designed PowerPoint presentation that I give during initial consultations with prospects. It contains charts, graphs, statistics, and ticklers that will help to inform potential clients of the fact that I know what I'm doing, that I am who I say I am (the expert in my field), and the importance of using my services.

If you don't have a laptop computer or can't afford one, you can create a special presentation binder using the same materials and information I just described. You can purchase a special binder that bends halfway in order to prop up on a table or desk during the presentation. 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 presentation binder, and be sure to use sheet protectors! Pages are not only easier to handle but it also looks much more professional.

Finally, a quick word about written materials. A recent survey conducted by a direct-mail marketing firm for a credit card company found the following results. Documents that are high in contrast (print versus paper) have pulled a greater response over colored print on colored paper. Traditional white on black is best, yet color on white, or black print on light colored paper, is just as good. Remember that, as long as you maintain a contrast between your text, graphics, pictures, and the paper you print them on, you're rolling.

The research also showed that borders around texts have also increased readership by 20% over plain text with faint or non-existent borders. It also found that certain words pulled more than others. These words include save, free, and discover. Try using these words in your printed materials as much as possible. (By the way, one of these 3 words became the name of that credit card company conducting the research!) And more important, make sure they all contain if not highly stress your unique name, tagline, specialization, unique category, and any special memberships, accreditation, or affiliations you may have. You're now on the path to producing a profitable parade of patrons!

I hope that these strategies will help you create endless streams of new, repeat, and referral business – they have for many others, let alone for me! I wish you good luck, both on your quest for increased business as well as successful business health!



Michel Fortin, Ph.D. is THE SUCCESS DOCTOR®, an internationally -acclaimed business development consultant, author, speaker, and copywriter. He is the author of Power Positioning, Marketing Medicine, and Drop Your Goals! If you like the ideas expressed in this article, you may click on this link to obtain a FREE copy of The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning, or call him at (613) 482-4828 or e-mail michel@successdoctor.com.


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