How to win clients and influence referrals

Dale Carnegie is a great example of marketing with a book. But before there was the book, there was the seminar. And before the seminar, there was an understanding of what people want: more friends and influence.

To attract new clients, the best approach is to prove your expertise by giving away valuable information through writing and speaking.  Actually, that isn’t technically true. You should sell the information if you want to win clients and influence referrals

First comes the problem, then comes research, and finally presentation.  Dale Carnegie wrote that he had searched for years to discover a practical, working handbook on human relations.  He started by reading every scholarly book and magazine articles he could find to ascertain how the great men and women of all ages had dealt with people. Then he interviewed scores of successful people and to discover the techniques they used in human relations. 

From all that material, he prepared a short talk.  He called it “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and it soon became a 90-minute lecture.  Then the teacher learned from the students. Carnegie asked attendees to share their stories of how the principles helped them.  First he put the rules down on a postcard, that grew into a leaflet, then a series of booklets, each one expanding in size and scope.  After 15 years of experiment and research, came the book by the same title as that original short talk.  Of course, it has been a best-seller ever since (if you haven’t read it, you really should).

During those 15 years of research Dale Carnegie became the go-to guy for human relations.  Thousands attended his training each year and he prospered.  This also resulted in many consulting contracts.  He is long gone, but his training company has continued to this day.

Independent professionals, management consultants, corporate trainers, executive coaches, marketing and creative firms, and HR and recruiting consultants can fill a pipeline with qualified prospects in as little as 30 days by offering advice to prospects on how to overcome their most pressing problems.  But don’t do it for free.  Charge for your seminars and the information will be valued more by your potential clients.  The burden is also on you to research great information.

This also helps those people who know, like and trust you enough to refer business to you.  You can make these people a special deal: if they know someone who would value what you have to say, then your referral source can offer comp admission to your events on a space available basis.

Look what this does. You make the referral source feel special because they can hook people up.  The prospects who attend still value the information more because there is a charge for it, and they feel even better because they didn’t have to pay.

Unfortunately, many professionals who learn this truth find the idea of writing and speaking too daunting and even mysterious. Most feel this is only for a select few, but that is a miscalculated view.

So decide what niche you want to be the master of, then begin the research.  As Robert Bly once wrote, “Slice off a segment of the world’s knowledge that you can realistically hope to master—and then convince others of this mastery.” You can start small. You can start wherever you are. But by all means start now.

About Henry DeVries

Best-selling author and “marketing with a book” expert Henry DeVries is an authority on typing and talking: how to maximize revenues by writing books and making speeches. He speaks to thousands of business leaders, professionals, and consultants each year, teaching them successful tactics that shine a spotlight on their company, cause, or career. Along with his best-selling books — Self-Marketing Secrets, Client Seduction, Pain Killer Marketing, and How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett — the buzz-building tools of Henry DeVries have been used to dramatically increase revenues and leverage marketing budgets for two decades. He speaks to thousands of professionals and consultants each year, teaching them scientifically proven tactics that bring them new clients.

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