BE the Red Crayon (NOT the “SALESMAN”!)

As a coach, I work with all kinds of already successful people looking for help to bring their careers—and lives—to the next level.  Most are selling professional services of one kind or another, and much of the time, they are doing so as part of an independent business or practice.  Their next level is getting more clients, getting better clients, or simply turning the clients they have already into fiercely loyal advocates who will keep working with them for years to come.

Many of my clients come to me with an idea—a paradigm—that the only way they can grow is to do something they dread: marketing, prospecting, or (horror of horrors): “selling”.

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Danny DeVito in Matilda (1996)

“But I’m an advisor,” my client Bob protested a few years ago, not a SALESMAN.”

The picture Bob had in his mind of someone who “sells” is the pushy salesman on the used car lot with the loud plaid sports jacket, the phony smile, and the bad toupee.  Who wants to be that guy?

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Like most professionals who are not precisely where they want to be, Bob couldn’t fill his day working with quality clients for two reasons:

1. He didn’t know how to attract more business; and
2. He was apprehensive about cold calling, making presentations, and other “salesy” things he was sure I’d be making him do.

“What if instead of worrying about marketing, prospecting, and selling, you just positioned yourself to attract the clients you want?” I asked Bob.

“I don’t know what you mean,” he responded, “but that sounds a lot better than selling.”

If you’re just another financial advisor, insurance producer, or attorney, you’re faced with competition from dozens—or hundreds—of people doing the same work that you are.  You’re just another “white crayon”.  You will get business, but your ability to get more and better clients will be limited.  Sending out mailings and refrigerator magnets, making cold calls and other marketing and sales activities might pull in the occasional new client, but what will work faster and better is having a way to distinguish yourself from all of the other white crayons.

Instead of struggling to sell your services, position yourself as a provider who can fulfill a specific need for a specific type of client.

Every day, I speak with people who are telling their prospects they are brokers, or consultants, or coaches, entrepreneurs or service providers, without differentiating themselves from all of the other people who do “the same thing”.  Each of them is just one more white crayon in a box filled with white crayons.

The point they’re missing is that clients are more attracted to experts and specialists—to someone unique—than to general practitioners who look like all the other general practitioners in any field.  Your prospective clients are looking for the Red Crayon.  Start attracting them by giving them what they’re looking for.

Red Crayon

When I explained this to Bob, he protested that he couldn’t be a Red Crayon.  He was “just another financial advisor”.  When I connected with him on social media, however, I found several posts he had written about putting four of his kids through college.

His expertise on this subject was already a way he could attract clients.  But as we spoke, he mentioned how he had put himself through college, because his own parents couldn’t afford to help him.

These were two powerful personal stories that made Bob a Red Crayon, which would, if properly displayed, comfortably attract many more new clients than any “sales” effort ever could.

Why wasn’t his practice already as full as he would have liked it to be?  Until now, Bob had always chosen to be “just another financial advisor”.  Like many of us, on some level, he was afraid to be an individual in order to have the kind of success he deserved.

If you recognize that what holds you back is fear, try my book, THE HIGH DIVING BOARD: How to Overcome Your Fears and Live Your Dreams.  If you know your hang up is not wanting to be a “pushy salesman“, look out for my upcoming workshop on MASTERING CLIENT REFERRALS without even having to ask for them, or contact me to find out more.

In the meantime, be your own Red Crayon, and keep REACHING…

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