Let’s face it, nothing is more important to the success of your business than acquiring the right clients and growing your revenue. My guest on the podcast today, Ian Altman, helps self-employed professionals to become outrageously successful targeting and winning new business.
Ian is a successful entrepreneur and a bestselling author. His latest book, Same Side Selling: A Radical Approach to Break Through Sales Barriers, is packed with creative sales tips and practical strategies for people selling their services in the B2B space.
Same Side Selling has received rave reviews from a variety of business and sales luminaries. Here’s what top business thinker and bestselling author, Daniel Pink, had to say: “Altman and Quarles deliver a whole new world of selling, and they’re really onto something.” I couldn’t agree more.
In addition to being an accomplished writer, Ian is also a top-rated speaker for Vistage International. He’s often called upon to address CEO forums related to revenue growth, innovation, and sales leadership. Over the years, Ian has become an in-demand sales educator and advisor to professional services firms and solo practitioners like us worldwide.
Ready to discover how you can become outrageously successful at targeting and winning business? If so, then don’t miss the creative sales strategies that Ian shares on the podcast today. Scroll down to the Podcast Player and listen now!
(Prefer to read instead? Click on the “Transcript” link at the bottom of the player.)
Dale Carnegie vs. The Marketing Gurus
I’ve heard quite a few marketing gurus talk about what they call “authenticity” and the importance of self-expression. They advise us to mix-in plenty of personal disclosure with our marketing communications (especially when we blog or use social media) to create a sense of familiarity and rapport.
I agree that most clients do want to understand where we’re coming from as people. But if we let a desire for self-expression shape the focus of our writing and our client conversations on a regular basis, then personal disclosure takes on a narcissistic quality. That’s a good way to turn people off.
In his classic book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie frames this issue in a different way. He writes: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” I think he understood a crucial key to building trust and creating great relationships.
Taking Mr. Carnegie’s advice to heart, I stay focused on my clients’ goals and challenges — and I listen to them as deeply as I can. I want to understand them and their world because my business is all about serving them exactly where they are today.
Can you relate to my perspective on the issue of authenticity and self-expression in business? If so, I’d appreciate you sharing this post on social media using the icons below. Thank you for spreading the word!
What’s Your Market-Defining Story?
In 14 years of self-employment, I’ve learned a number of things. Here’s a lesson that’s crucial – serving the right market is essential to any lasting success.
Of course, “serving the right market” means serving people who are a match for you and your unique business. If you’re a solo professional like me, then you are your business. That makes finding the right match all the more personal and important.
So, who do I most want to serve, and how will I help them? That was the first question I asked before launching my business as a mentor to solo professionals.
To begin answering that question I created a brief market-defining story. This story was a basic sketch of the type of person I’d be serving, their situation, and the benefits they’d experience as we started working together.
Here’s what I wrote:
“Kris has been working as a self-employed consultant for several years now. Although her income meets the immediate needs of her family, her business is a lot less profitable and fulfilling than she hoped it would be when she started working for herself.
Kris is determined to do better. She believes that improving her sales strategy might solve her problem – but she doesn’t have a background in sales or a firm grasp of what steps to take.
In her search for better sales ideas, Kris downloads my free LinkedIn guide. Shortly afterward, she reaches out to me to get some personalized sales and business guidance. By the end of our first conversation, Kris starts to see a clear path to a more profitable and fulfilling business life. She feels more energized and optimistic than she has in years.”
This story helped me to create a useful context for myself. My sales and marketing efforts were now focused on “Kris” and her situation – not on a textbook concept of a target market. Based on that distinction, I was able to connect with the right prospective clients in a more personal and direct way. That’s a competitive advantage that doesn’t require a big marketing budget.
Having a market-defining story in mind also makes a big difference as I plan for the upcoming year. Why? Top business planning expert, Tim Berry, sums it up better than I can in his outstanding book, The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan. He writes: “Telling your market story isn’t about doing formal market research, or gathering the supporting information you’ll need to include in a plan for investors, or professors, or in some cases for the bank, your boss, partners, or any other third-party plan judge or reader. No. This is about knowing your market for yourself, so that you understand the decisions you make, understand the strategy, understand the heart of your plan.”
As you plan and prepare for success in the new year, does this post trigger some thoughts about your own market-defining story? I hope so. Do you have a few questions? Send me an email at email@example.com and let’s talk!