Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are You Playing by the Wrong Rules?

Ever feel like you have to work harder and harder to stand out in a crowded marketplace?

Maybe you're playing by the wrong rules.

Other people (your competitors among them?) may tell you that:
  • you need more certifications or degrees (or both)
  • you need to publish a book
  • you need more prospects in your pipeline
  • you need a blog
  • you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and/or LinkedIn
May I suggest a shortcut?

First, watch this short video ...

Get that?

You can certainly play by other peoples' rules. But that could be deadly to your business.

Because, no matter how good you are with a sword, there's always going to be a better, faster swordsman who can cut you down.

Instead, why not play by your own rules? It worked for Indiana Jones in that crowded marketplace.

It's worked for me in my businesses. And it's worked for most super-successful people I know.

Want an example? 

When I first started out in business in 1996, I was a resume writer. A quick look through the Yellow Pages told me two things:
  1. There was a lot of competition (Yay. That meant there was a market for my services) and ... 
  2. There was a lot of competition (Boo. Most were very experienced and ran big, expensive ads).

Had I played by other peoples' rules, I would have had little chance of succes. How can a startup compete against "22 years' experience" (I had 0 years) or "We accept all credit cards" (I didn't) or "Published author" (I wasn't).

So I changed the rules. How? Simple: I offered an unconditional money-back guarantee. Nobody else did.

By changing the rules, I changed the game. And I won.

Sure, I refunded a few clients ... less than 2%. But my sales took off the day the new Yellow Pages came out with my ad. And they never slowed down. (Math tip: keeping 98% of $100,000 with a money-back guarantee is better than keeping 100% of $20,000 without one.)

In fact, within 18 months of starting, I had to hire two former competitors part-time to handle the overflow business that was coming in.

So. What can you do to change the rules in your favor?

Here are some ideas ...

1) If your competitors' voice-mail greetings are boring (and they probably are), why not try a voicemail greeting that's (GASP) fun or lighthearted? The #1 sin in marketing is being boring, as my mentor Dan Kennedy likes to say.

2) If your competitors' websites all say basically the same thing (and they probably do), why not look outside your industry for inspiration? That's how I found the idea for a money-back guarantee -- not from parroting other resume writers, but borrowed from a prior client, FedEx.

3) If your competitors rely nearly 100% on email or phone calls to contact prospects (and they probably do), why not use direct mail, in-person seminars, teleseminars, etc. to get your message out? Even if your message is similar, a different medium can drive it home better.

I could (and will) write more on this, but you get the idea.

If you're not winning the marketing game, take a look at the rules. Are they slowing you down? If so, try writing your own rules and playing your own game. You may find it's easier to win.

Resource: If you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, the free Client Cloning Kit can help. Grab your copy here

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