Free Information Brings
by Marcia Yudkin
How do your clients come to hire you? I've seen two routes. Shopping begins when someone has a need, narrows the field to several top candidates and selects a provider who seems to fit the bill. Discovery involves folks not fully conscious of a need, who encounter someone about whom they get excited. "This person can help me!" they think, and
they get in touch to become a client.
When you're discovered rather than shopped, price takes a back seat to the client's excitement. And the relationship with the client tends to go more smoothly. The difference is so dramatic that I've geared all of my marketing to getting discovered.
Typically a new client has read a book of mine, just spent hours at my Web site or had my
email newsletter, The Marketing Minute, forwarded to them from two different people in one day. Then they send an eager
email: "Gosh, I've read this, that and the other thing of yours, and can
you help me with...?"
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Dennis Vogel, the "Small Biz Thriving" Wz-ard at
Wz.com, once gave me a name for this process that explains why providing lots of information produces congenial clients. The information at my Web site or in my newsletter, columns or books facilitates a "compatibility check." Without me having to spend hours on the phone screening potential clients, what I've written serves as a magnet for those who like how I see and do things.
Writing isn't the only medium that helps attract the right clients. Friends of mine who work as psychotherapists who have appeared on radio or TV say that those who get in touch after their media appearance don't need a free sample session to feel comfortable becoming a client. Public
speaking also allows those in the audience to get a feel for compatibility. On the Web, video clips could play this role.
When I asked for examples of "compatibility checks," Vogel sent me a long list, including these examples:
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Joe and Maria Gracia of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have a Web site,
givetogetmarketing.com, where they make it plain that they recommend that clients give information or something of value to prospects. Anybody who doesn't agree with their beliefs probably won't hire them because of incompatibility.
The free information that facilitates a compatibility check, Vogel points out, is beneficial not only to the recipient. By aiding what I've dubbed the process of discovery, it helps ensure the good match that keeps the provider happy too.
Copyright 2006 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.
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