How to Get More Clients with this Secret Marketing Weapon

Posted by · May 15, 2012 2:14 pm

7 Weird Tricks to Get More Clients: Don’t Forget to Download the complimentary Whitepaper that goes with this series: 7 Wickedly Effective Best Practices for Marketing Your I.T. Business.

This week, I’m going to reveal a secret marketing weapon that I’ve used for years to bring in customers like there is no tomorrow. I call it the Why the ID10T Error is the Secret Sauce in the Marketing Juice.

Users are entertaining. They spend a lot of time parroting phrases that they have heard other people who know a lot about computers say. My personal all-time favorite has got to be the word “download”. See according to users, you can download a file from the internet. You can download a file onto a disc. You can download a file to the internet. You can download a file to another computer and you can download a file onto a CD. Apparently “download” is the universal word that users and customers use in place of the correct terminology “download,” “upload,” “copy” and “burn”.

Our first instinct, because we know better, is to educate them right then and there. “No, no, no. That’s not how you do it,” we begin. You don’t download a file onto a CD. You burn a file onto a CD but the user is very rarely interested. They kind of brush it off like, “I don’t need to know that stuff.” And we feel like our words have gone completely unheard. It reminds me of a story that I had at Krystal’s Hamburgers. It’s also called White Castle for you guys in other parts of the US.

I drove through the drive-through and I ordered a number six with an iced tea and the voice that came through the speaker says, “Number six with a root beer. Anything else?” I smiled cheerfully because that happens and I corrected the order. I said, “No, ma’am. Number six with a sweet tea, not a root beer.” And the voice cheerfully replies, “Yes, sir. That’s what I have down. Number six with a root beer.” I said, “No, iced tea.” She shouted back, “Yes! Yes, root beer!” Finally, I knew the message just wasn’t getting across and so I sadly replied, “Yes, that’s right. Number six with a root beer.”

What’s the moral of the story here? What has this possibly have anything to do with downloading and users and marketing? How do I use this to get new clients? Well, this is in fact the secret sauce to getting droves of new clients. To better understand how this works, let’s look at a fundamental element of language.

See, words are intended to take this feeling that I have inside and transport this feeling into you through sound, right? I have a feeling. I want to give it to you because I want you to understand how I feel, right? It’s kind of analogous to a microphone and a speaker. A microphone records sounds by recording the vibrations through the air and then saving those vibrations to a medium; tapes if you’re old enough to remember those, disc memory, whatever, if you’re newer than that.

When we want to hear the recording again, we just reverse the process. We read the recorded signals and change those signals back into sound waves with a speaker. Well, marketing your IT business must be done in the exact same way. You have to listen and record these catchphrases that your clients use to describe their computing woes. It’s just that simple.

Now you got to become a tenacious recorder of things clients say, right? Out of the mouths of babes or out of the mouths of clients. Find the patterns. All your best clients, especially the ones that you love to work with and who respect you the most, are going to have a common set of catchphrases that they use. OK?

So what does that look like? Well, suppose you have three clients that you just love working with. They listen to you. They pay their bill on time or early and they don’t constantly beg for discounts. In fact, they actually seem to want to pay a fair wage for honest work. They actually expect the bill. One is a company that cleans buildings. One is a manufacturer’s representative and one is a plumber. Three completely separate verticals yet they are all great to work with.

Now if you were to look for a common thread here, you wouldn’t find one. You got two blue collar businesses, one white collar business. You got one sales, two service. None of them share customers. There appears to be no link. That’s where you start listening to the userisms, for the catchphrase.

See, if you’re trying to link them together as a target market rather than a target audience, you’re going to fail. Remember from our last blog, we discussed the target audience is always a subset of a target market. They are a group of clients that exist within one or more target markets who share a series of personality characteristics or philosophical characteristics. Now these personality or philosophical characteristics are part of what makes them resonate with you. In fact, it’s a major part of what makes them resonate with you and your company. It’s why they love to work with you. You love to work with them and why it’s a beneficial relationship.

So let’s return to our example. The common characteristics among all of these companies were simply this. The owners knew enough about computers to do some of the work themselves but they had greater value performing their specialty rather than toying around with the computers. Many of them even had the experience of fixing a computer for a friend or a family member for free only to have it completely blow up in their face. The computer worked. It was the relationship that blew up. Their friend or family member was very upset with them for trying to fix the computer, right?

If you haven’t read that article that I wrote, Warning: Five Reasons Why You Should Never Fix a Computer for Free, go ahead and read that now. By now if you haven’t guessed, this was the exact way that I discovered the common thread amongst my very best customers.

From this starting point, I developed a marketing plan that was based on one very simple concept. I know you can fix computers for yourself. But aren’t you tired of being under the desk when you would rather be out doing what it is that actually makes you money that you enjoy instead of just being frustrated?

My sales letters, my referral strategies, they were all chock-full of phrases that I got from my clients and my customers because they frequently use them. They would frequently tell me, “I’ve been screwing with this for over an hour now and I just need you to fix it for me. I have other things to do.”

This is an example phrase but there are two catchphrases in here that really resonated with my client base. One, I have been screwing with this for X number of hours and two, I have other things to do. These are things that I recorded and I just parrot back. See? When I parroted them back, remarkable conversion rate. Even the headline had this stuff in there. Because you have other things to do than mess with your computers for hours on end, you need to read this letter. Great headline. It was an incredible sales letter. Of course the headline alone was not enough to get them to call. I had to fulfill other requirements and the other elements to achieve an effective marketing letter. I had a sub-headline. I made a clear case for why we were the obvious choice.

It also had a powerful offer. It had our USP. It had a deadline. It did not however have any discounts because I just don’t do that. Now the best part about this tactic is that it resonates with clients and customers that you actually want to do business with because you’re getting from the good customers the set of catchphrases that really strike a nerve with that group of people and then all you have to do is take that catchphrase, put it into your marketing message and send it back out. People will call you and they will ask you for an appointment. All you got to do is close the sale.

Now here’s the next question I always get. How do I get my list of catchphrases? It can’t just be that easy. Well actually, it is the easiest task of them all. Make some appointments with your best clients. Take them out for lunch. Take them out for coffee, whatever they want. It doesn’t matter. Tell them that you’re actively working to grow your business and that you want to treat them to lunch or coffee because you’re seeking their advice. Now most people especially your good clients are going to jump at the opportunity for free food and to be a mentor to one of their own vendors.

Why? Well, the free food part is easy. It’s self-explanatory. The mentoring opportunity, why would someone jump at this to teach me something? Three reasons.

One, they see it as a direct opportunity to influence a vendor for their own self-interest. How often have you thought, “If I was in charge over there, I would do things like this,” right? You’re giving them that opportunity.

Two, when you put people in the position of a teacher or of a leader, they generally rise to the occasion. So, asking for a client’s time to interview them in this manner says, “I trust your judgment and I value your opinion.” Who doesn’t like that?

And number three, everyone loves their own opinions and they also love talking about their opinions. So when you ask for them, you’re going to get them.

Bring only a pen and a notebook to the meeting. Write down their suggestions but definitely pay lots of attention to catchphrases. Especially write down their thoughts, their feelings, how they feel about your service industry. Find out how exactly they view you and your company. Here are the questions that I recommend that you ask. You can tailor these to your own business.

One, when your originally hired us, what did you envision as our role in the company? OK? This question is designed to get them to paint a picture for you of what they had in their head when they hired you in the first place. Those are the expectations they have for you.

It may have been out of sheer frustration. They figured that if they have to pay you $150 an hour for work that would otherwise take them six hours, they would be getting a net profit because they could actually be doing something they enjoy and something that makes them much more money than that. From that mindset, the decision to go with you, that was pretty easy.

Two, if you were in charge, Mr. Customer, what would you do differently in my business? Now this is a process or a presentation improvement question. By uncovering what they would improve, you can establish new selling points to help you land new customers just like them. You do however have to fix problems that they bring up. Don’t just write down, “Oh, great selling point.”

Three, have you ever thought to yourself, “I am really glad that I work with (insert my name here) to help us. I really wish that they could be around more. They have a lot of value”? See, here you’re looking to gather a hero story. You want to find out in which situations where they’re really, really grateful to have you around.

Now you can use these as social proof in your sales letters. They can go on a narrative. They can speak volumes about you to a potential customer who is a member of your target audience because these hero stories are going to be chock-full with good stuff.

And the last one is, “What have we done to thrill you lately?” Now this has testimonial written all over it. Grab them. This is going to help prove that you really are as good as you are.

Now I got a bonus for you. Have you ever fired another IT firm? If so, why? This is probably the most important question you can ever ask especially if you are replacing another IT firm. See, when a customer fires an IT provider, it’s usually for a very specific reason. The most common reason I have ever heard is communication, timeliness. This IT firm didn’t respond to us in a timely manner. They didn’t acknowledge our problems in a timely manner. They didn’t speak English. I never knew if they knew about the problem and what they were doing about it. There wasn’t open communication with the clients and so that IT firm got canned. They got replaced.

Now whatever reason they give here, you can quickly convert it into a sales headline for a newsletter, for a sales letter, even as an elevator speech. It’s absolutely worth its weight in gold.

So that’s it for this blog post. I will see you guys next week. Until then, I’m Michael James Munger AKA DrDamnit. Cheers to your success!

7 Weird (Counter-Intuitive) tricks: Don’t Forget to Download the complimentary Whitepaper that goes this series: 7 Wickedly Effective Best Practices for Marketing Your I.T. Business.