Play the Publicity Game by Publishing
You will dramatically enhance your credibility as a sales person by authoring, speaking and publishing quality information on your field of expertise.
Don’t you hate going to see a customer when you know deep down that he really thinks you’re wasting his time? Don’t you hate being knowledgeable and sincere about your field of expertise but not being believed or trusted? Isn’t it frustrating to be thought of as “just another guy who sells xyz” when deep down you know your product is really superior?
You want to be an invited guest, not an unwelcome pest. You want to be an expert problem solver, not an annoying peddler. You want to be a respected authority, not some suspicious car salesman in an ugly polyester suit.
Here’s how you can gain extraordinary credibility. This is one of the greatest secrets to marketing success that you can possess. I hope you’re paying attention, because if you truly understand this simple concept, it will change your business life forever. It changed mine. This one principle will give you an edge over everyone else.
Write books. Publish magazine articles. Produce white papers. Speak at conferences, organization meetings, trade shows and public events. Get yourself on talk shows. Get yourself quoted by other writers. Make sure magazine editors call YOU when they need information on your subject area. Become the most visible person in your field.
You Can Be Your Industry’s Media Golden Boy
Most people have never thought about this much. You might have assumed that if you want to be an “expert” then some large institution has to anoint you with that title. Maybe you thought you could only earn that status after years and years of relentless toil in the back office, paying your dues, crawling buck naked over mountains of broken glass, and when you finally have gray hair and a colostomy bag, then they’ll know that you’re an expert and they’ll ask you what you think.
Actually this idea is a distant cousin of “invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” This method of achieving notoriety is way too hard and takes way too long. Not only is it difficult, it’s not even likely to work at all. It might work that way in academia, but not in the entrepreneurial or business world.
In the entrepreneurial world, you appoint yourself as the expert and just start acting like one.
So what do experts do? They publish their views and opinions. They speak at conferences. They write books. They get on the Oprah Winfrey show. They take phone calls from reporters and magazine editors who want to know the “real” scoop.
Being a Commodity Won’t Make You Famous
Now if you’re just another Joe who peddles toilet paper or telephone wire, it’s going to be pretty hard to find anyone who’s looking for an expert on those subjects in the first place. Who wants to read about some familiar commodity item that everyone already understands?
No, you need to be an expert on something that someone doesn’t know about but wants to – like specialized chemical processes for increasing the yield of toilet paper manufacturing plants. Or the nuances of wire making machinery and why the copper in your special wires last longer when it’s twisted and flexed.
Yes, there are interesting angles on even the most “mundane” subjects, angles that somebody really wants to know about. Those people will take you real, real seriously if you can legitimately demonstrate in the media that you understand these problems. Each of those narrow subjects represents a marketing niche that you can capitalize on. There are people who will pay a lot more money for soft toilet paper. There are people who need wire that exceeds the norm by 150%, and all those niches represent an opportunity for you to be a big fish in a little pond by talking about those special problems and how they can be cleverly and creatively solved.
If you and your company bring a special angle to some narrow category, as most high tech companies do, you can become a leading recognized expert on that subject in a fairly short period of time. You just need to publish and publicize like a madman. You need to do more of this than your competitors do.
Beat Your Competitors to the Punch
Many times your competitors are not even doing it at all. But if there’s any place for creativity in marketing, it’s right here: finding angles on your solutions that create interesting stories and applications. Sales people intuitively collect stories like this.
The guy who sells dull grey telephone wire tells you about the customer who spent a little more money to get the premium quality version and cut defects by 5% and saved $300,000 per year in warranty returns. The shrewd marketer takes it a step further – she interviews the customer and puts it in writing, with the whole story of how this new technology saved the day for the ACME company. She engages thousands of readers by explaining how and why it’s possible to produce such “miraculous” results with her unique process.
Magazine editors, especially in trade journals, crave stuff like this. Every day they wake up in the morning thinking “OK, how am I going to fill my magazine with interesting stuff this month?” Normally their budgets are thin and they can’t afford to have a platoon of reporters scouring the industry for interesting angles. No, they’re dependent on vendors to help them find interesting content.
Infomercials vs. Real Content
Now let’s get something straight here: I’m not talking about thinly disguised infomercials that do little more than tell readers how great your product is. Editors hate that stuff, and the good ones run from it like the plague. No, I’m talking about interesting, informative material that really helps people solve problems and stimulates the customers’ thinking process.
Writing magazine articles is not very hard. They don’t have to be long; usually 1-3 pages is plenty. And even if it seems like a lot of trouble to do this, it always pays off in the long run. First, it’s more believable than advertising, because it’s editorial content. That should be reason enough. Second, you can use it for a long, long time. You can get copies of the magazine and show them to customers as a credibility builder. You can reprint them as white papers. You can use the same material in your own literature, and my system discusses many more ways that you can re-cycle the information and use it for other things.
Remember: If you go see somebody and talk to them, they forget 90% of what you say within 24 hours. If you write something down, it stays written down as long as someone has the piece of paper. It can be sent to 100 or 100,000 people. Writing takes extra effort but it’s permanent. And you can’t have a marketing system that runs on autopilot unless you get your true sales story down in writing.
The Esteemed Published Author
It’s even better to write a book. If you write a book, then whether the book sells or not, you’re always “The Guy Who Wrote The Book On ________.” Everyone in your field will always recognize you as an expert. Actually you’ll be amazed at how much more customers believe what you have to say. I’ve experienced this myself. Since I’ve done this I’ve rarely found myself in front of a skeptical customer whose arms are crossed and who looks like he was weaned on a pickle. Instead, he asks me how he should approach the problems that I’ve written about and he takes what I say seriously. It gives me such a consistent advantage over my competitors that I can hardly imagine living without it.
I know what you’re thinking: “I can’t write a book. I’m not an author. I hate to write. Heck, if I try to become a published author, my high school English teacher will send me suicide notes.”
That’s OK; you might be a terrible writer. But I don’t really care. Quite frankly I’d like to say, “OK, fine, then let somebody else get famous, and you can keep making cold calls, knocking on doors, climbing over barbed wire fences, ignoring ‘no solicitors’ signs, sneaking past gatekeepers and annoying otherwise promising customers.”
But please realize: you do NOT have to be a “writer” to do this. You can record yourself talking to a customer on tape and have your secretary transcribe it. You can hire somebody to write it for you. You can write it in your own sloppy, terrible English and pay somebody else to fix it later. You can appoint somebody to be your marketing and publishing person. You can occasionally outsource this to others; Many of my own consulting clients have come to me for this service. It doesn’t really matter how you get it written, just do it.
By the way, I’d like to refer you to some excellent speedwriting resources, including a powerful program called “How to Write a Book on Anything in 14 Days or Less.” This is a technology that I personally use every day, and it’s not an exaggeration. If you know a subject well then you really can write an entire book about it in 14 days or less.
Charge for Something Others are Doing for Free
Here’s another tip: Give seminars on your subject of expertise. And you should consider charging good money for them, not just doing them for free. I was the first in my niche to do this on a grand scale, charging $1500 for a seminar that some vendors were attempting to give for free. Not only did we make a lot more money that way, we got a lot more respect as well. Fortune 500 companies paid us to teach them how to use our products. People respect what they pay for. Seminars are another way to package your knowledge and build your credibility. The process also helps you organize your knowledge so that it’s more effective in every other venue. My full marketing system explains in detail and with multiple examples how this is done.
I used this exact publishing and publicity approach to catapult a tiny company with less than 20 employees to national prominence in its industry with over 100 pages of free press in a single year. This company was very small, with a pittance of an advertising budget and very thin resources, yet we got pictures of our products on the cover of three magazines and stories inside nearly two dozen others. How was this possible? The answer is in the last principle: