Now you’re at the point where you want to ask a client a very important question:  “Would you recommend me to others?”

This goes far beyond the benefit of being able to say, “97% of our clients recommend us” — good as that is.  Here’s what’s going on.

Psychological Integrity
When someone agrees they would recommend your services, they are compelled psychologically to ‘defend’ their recommendation.  If they aren’t willing to do that, they probably won’t recommend you in the first place.

So, a client is willing to recommend you?  Congratulations!  Now, ask them, ‘Why?”

That requires them to justify their position. It also commits them to uphold their decision to recommend your services. This means that, when someone asks, they’ll feel compelled to vigorously defend their recommendation.  That’s very powerful.  And, very good.  For you.

Getting a recommendation is great news.  Asking a client “WHY?” is even better!

Once you know the OBSTACLE  to acting on your service and the BENEFIT gained once they did, you want to get specific.  You want to FOCUS on one aspect of the service or program or product you provided that really ‘stood out’ to your client.

Here then, is your third question.  “Was there ONE thing about my services that was really significant . . . that caused you to enjoy the benefit you just mentioned?”

By asking your client to focus on just one thing, you make it easier for them to provide you with a testimonial.

Too often we ask, “Why did you like . . . ?” and they don’t know where to begin!  It’s so easy to overwhelm someone.  Instead, ask your client to focus on ONE thing . . . ONE aspect or ONE feature of your service that they feel might be the basis for their getting the benefit they just mentioned to you in response to question #2.

Focus . . . is powerful.  Focus is also the key to discovering the basis for the benefit they’ve enjoyed from your services.

Most of us are influenced by what other people do and say. Social psychologists call it ‘normative referencing’.  We want to be part of the ‘crowd’ and that means ‘listening’ to what others say, do, feel, think, believe.  Social is our nature.

It’s also why testimonials are so effective. As a marketer, what you tell me about yourself is inherently suspect.  You’re biased. That’s expected.

What’s better?  Comments from a credible source.  Your clients.  Normally, unlike our friend here, they have nothing to gain financially from endorsing your services.  And, if a client ‘looks like me’, then their words about you and your services have more potency for me.

Is there a key to a good testimonial? Good question.  Actually, there are several!

In the next few days, I’ll share what makes a testimonial effective and how to co-create good ones with your clients.

Testimonials reduce buying resistance but there’s an artform to generating effective ones!

Following up after an initial contact is important.  Unfortunately, however you follow-up,  if you do it too often you may turn someone off.

If you do it too infrequently, you may be forgotten by someone with whom you’re seeking to build awareness and a preference for the brand called ‘YOU’.  Tough call, eh.

Dripping By Design . . . is the solution you may be seeking.  As the name implies, ‘dripping’ information on someone is designed to help you do the following:

1.  build / maintain awareness of you and your business,
2.  educate someone about the need for your services,
3.  position yourself competitively

I suggest having two kinds of ‘drip’ campaigns.  The first one is to acknowledge a new connection.  A simple follow-up note or email with a link to some content that is relevant to the person receiving it.  The second one is a periodic communication from you — perhaps a newsletter — that will serve to maintain awareness and build a preference for you and your brand of services.

An initial follow-up and an ongoing stay-in-touch communication campaign builds awareness and preference for your brand.

Some studies suggest it may cost a firm 5  times more to acquire a new customer vs. re-selling / up-selling or cross-selling an existing customer or client.  If so, why do so many firms tend to chase after new leads rather than fully developing the existing relationships they already have?

I believe there are two (2) good explanations for this:

PERSPECTIVE . . . if you don’t recognize the value of cultivating a long-term relationship, you may not even think to cultivate an initial contact into a productive relationship — especially if your new contact isn’t ready to do business.

TIMING . . . most prospects probably don’t need or want what you do, at first.  They’re cooler, not hotter prospects.  In  time they may become ‘hot’, but most are not likely to seriously entertain doing business with you . . . today.

Following-up with prospects builds a preference for your brand, reflects a strategic perspective and overcomes the trap of  “Now or never” thinking.

CRM software may be the means to implementing your marketing activities. But your marketing calendar determines what activities you’ll do and when.  Without a calendar to guide your marketing activities, you’ll do them inconsistently and ineffectively, too.

Macro Calendar
Activities that apply to all contacts or are themed — like a quarterly newsletter or scheduled events tied to a monthly PR topic would be ideal to use a marketing calendar to plan and implement.

Micro Calendar
Activities that apply to a single contact — like a series of emails you may send based on someone downloading an informational report, responding to a direct mailing, etc. would be handled by your CRM and tracked in your marketing calendar.

A calendar keeps you focused, productive, organized and very, very effective.


Marketing takes time.  Time you don’t have.  But, your PC does!
Marketing is less about creativity and more about consistency. That’s when your PC comes into play — with CRM SOFTWARE!

Marketing means building relationships with prospects, clients and centers-of-influence.
This means you must stay-in-touch with them at regular intervals, using a variety of media — phone calls, mailings, emails, auto-responders, social media, etc.

As important as PLANNING your marketing contacts is, you must also DO them.
CRM (customer relationship management) software can play a significant role in making sure you execute your planned contacts and, as a result, you’ll build awareness and preference with people who can retain you, refer you and return to you repeatedly over their useful buying lifetime.

Staying-in-touch is a key aspect of your marketing and CRM software plays a big part in this.

A client begins with a lead.  It may be ‘hot’ or, not.  It may be ‘qualified’ or, not.
Leads come from 3 primary marketing activities:  Advertising, Public Relations and Referrals.

Activity #2:  PR or Public Relations
PR is, as the name implies, all about building relationships with people of interest to your business or practice.  These may be prospects, existing clients or ‘raving fans’ of yours. Effective PR involves far more than mass distribution of a ‘Press Release’.  That’s easy.  And not all that effective.  To get decent results from PR you need to do 2 things:

Build relationships with relevant people.
PR begins by building relationships with people who can, if they wish, disseminate information about you and your firm. Identify people who have a voice your prospects will hear — writers of relevant publications, of course.
But also consider bloggers whose readers are people of interest to you.

Be worthy of promotion.
Media people detest self-centered, self-serving press releases.  They see through it.  They don’t use it. What does work?  News!  Useful information that will appeal to their readers, viewers, listeners.  When you do ‘release’ news, make sure it appeals to the people the media you’re contacting with it are seeking to serve.

Effective PR is about valuable information above all else. Media people love a good story.  Just make sure you’re not the center of it.  You’ll get a lot of goodwill and PR if you do.

A client begins with a lead.  It may be ‘hot’ or, not.  It may be ‘qualified’ or, not.
Leads come from 3 primary marketing activities:  Advertising, Public Relations and Referrals.

Activity #1:  Advertising
When the canons of professional ethics first allowed advertising the only reference was retail advertising.  It was a disaster.  Cheesy.  Crass. Unprofessional.

Professional services advertising must reflect two key principles.

Promote your problem-solving knowledge, not your service.  For example, offering information such as “How To Choose a Funeral Home” is much better than promoting a “Low-Cost Funeral Special”.

Advertise your valuable information, not your service.
It’s called a “2 Step” approach.  Step 1: advertise your problem-solving information. A complimentary ‘Special Report’ or whitepaper is ideal for this.  Step 2: invite an appropriate ‘Next Step’ to people who respond to your initial invitation.  A ‘no-obligation’ discussion or meeting is ideal for this.

Advertising your services can be cheesy or classy. Inviting prospective clients to get to know you and learn from you . . . is a key step in building a valuable relationship with someone who desires the beneficial difference your services can produce for them.

Email is a great medium for marketing.  If, that is, you do it effectively.  That means doing it correctly.  Here are five (5) means of making your email marketing truly marvelous.

Get Real . . . using Outlook to send email is not.  A real ESP (email service provider) such as Constant Contact, MyEmma, MailChimp, etc. will be easier to manage and more likely to get your emails put through to your intended recipients.

Professional Look and Feel . . . get a graphic designer, skilled in html to create a customized email template for you and your business.  Using generic templates, while quick and easy, are the equivalent of using clip-art on your website.  It’s so ’90’s!

Email Regularly . . . sending email on a regular basis keeps you from being forgotten or, even worse, accused of spamming someone. Use a marketing calendar to PLAN your mailings and follow your schedule once you’ve set it.

Check Your Stats . . . email services provide valuable reports on such metrics as percentage of your mailings that are being opened, which links are being clicked (and, by whom), etc.  You can make better decisions about marketing with email but only if you know what’s working or, what’s not!

Be Relevant . . . failure to speak to what your recipients care about is email marketing suicide.  It’s certainly enough to get people to stop reading what you’re sending.

Email is an excellent marketing medium IF you use it properly. The ‘rules’ aren’t many and they aren’t difficult.  But they must be honored.