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They Can’t Buy from You If They Don’t Know Who You Are

Chapter 4 of Make ‘Em Beg To Be Your Client!

In my favorite episode of the animated TV show, South Park, one of the characters has an idea to start a business selling underpants. In the show, they present the business plan. Here it is:

Step One – Collect Underpants
Step Two- ?
Step Three – Profit

Of course, this is funny because you can’t simply go from collecting underpants to making a profit without something significant happening in between. Awareness is that missing link! This is the entire part that matters. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t have a way to get people to find out about it, raise their hands and say that they want to know more about that product, and then buy the product, you can’t end up with any profit.

When you are writing a book, or creating a product, it feels like the important part is creating that thing you are going to sell. It seems like the important parts of the equation in this South Park business are collecting the underpants (in our case this would be writing the book) and then collecting the money. But there can be no collection of money unless there is someone, who wants to buy, to collect it from. In order to ever profit from creating or selling your product, people must become aware of you.

Never, in the history of human civilization, has someone bought something before they had heard of it. It’s simple physics. You must know about something before you can buy it – even if only by seconds. Your job, as an author, whether you are self-published or have a six-figure advance from a traditional publisher, is also to make people aware of you and your book. Where most authors fall apart in this responsibility is doing that with consistency. Many authors try several different things when their book first comes out – a book signing, an online event, an ad or an article in a local paper – but when they don’t see traction and momentum right away, they give up.

Author Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about this beautifully in the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. Dr. Joe explains our brain’s way of keeping us safe. It turns out that neurologically, from the processes by which our brains are developed, we become biologically wired to stick with the status quo. Every morning we wake up, notice we didn’t die last night, and to our brains that means whatever happened yesterday was success, so it (unconsciously) processes, “We should do all that again because then we get to stay alive tomorrow.” Your brain always wants you to stay safe, right where you are. It’s been programmed to influence you that way biologically, because otherwise you could die.

To get awareness about your book, I might suggest you go speak once a week. But say you have never spoken with regularity before, so your brain is wondering subconsciously: “What happens if when you speak, you get shot, like Martin Luther King? You could die! My recommendation is you keep surfing Facebook and watching Netflix – that worked well yesterday. You lived!”

Your brain’s whole job is to keep you alive. The things that I’m suggesting you do, to grow the momentum needed to fill your coaching business with clients begging to work with you, are probably new. They will make your subconscious mind fear these uncomfortable activities, even suspect they may kill you. The truth is, hiding doesn’t always keep you safe. What’s more, it’s just not an effective strategy to make an impact.

That’s why I’m going to ask you to make a critical and essential commitment right now, before you read another word of this book. In this chapter, I will share with you the ways you can effectively get the word out about your book. There will be many ideas in this chapter, and you might be feeling confused and overwhelmed. If you are going to read forward, however, I need you to commit now that you will pick a strategy to grow awareness about you and your book and stick to it for at least 90 days – with consistency – even if you feel like switching paths. The urge to switch is hard-coded into your brain in its survival mode, and the only way to route a new path into your brain is to consistently do something new, and slowly demonstrate to your brain its safety and results.

One you make the commitment to keep going, even when it gets hard or boring or frustrating, I want to stick to one awareness method to pursue. With limited resources. it’s impossible to fund and optimize multiple channel strategies at once.

Pick one tool that you think is going to be most effective for you. What’s going to be most effective is what you’re already good at, so if you love speaking you should speak. If you love writing, you should write, and if you like being interviewed, you should be interviewed…for media, podcasts, or blogs, for instance. There’s not a right or wrong way, except that whatever you pick must feel good to you, in part because it’s more likely to work if you have done it before, and in part because if you don’t like it you will probably quit – or at least want to, and that makes it harder to get results.

Top 10 Ways ACTUAL Authors Have Increased Awareness for Their Books

  1. Live events
    1. Conferences
    2. Hosting conferences
    3. Trade shows
    4. Attending events
    5. Leading a large Meetup group
  2. Speaking

    1. Speaking at every woman’s group in the area for free.
    2. Speaking to parent groups.
    3. Speaking to business groups.
    4. In person communities that they already engage in and serve in.
    5. In person presentation, chamber of commerce or similar affinity group
  3. Networking (Don’t go in trying to sell to people. Build relationships.)

    1. BNI or other paid networking group
    2. The gas station
    3. The grocery store
    4. The parking lot
    5. Church
    6. Coffee shops (flyer)
    7. Vacations
    8. Auto Mechanics Shop
    9. Uber/Lyft Drivers
    10. Volunteering
    11. Coworking spaces
    12. Ski slopes
    13. Yogashalas
    14. Vipassana retreats (after the meditation finished obviously!)
    15. Surfing
  4. Social Media

    1. LinkedIn groups
    2. Instagram commenting
    3. Networking in Facebook groups
    4. Daily Facebook Lives with interviews
  5. Referrals
    1. Local healing practitioners
    2. Therapists
    3. Naturopaths
    4. Doctors
    5. Business owners
    6. Yoga teachers
    7. Friends!
    8. Family
    9. Past clients
    10. Former co-workers
    11. Lawyers
  6. Direct Mail
    1. Sending letters to everyone in my kid’s PTA handbook
    2. Postcard mailers to my list from SendOutcard
    3. Sending my book to CEO’s trying to grow their business.
  7. Media coverage
    1. HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
    2. Podcast Guest
  8. Gig Boards
    1. Craigslist
    2. Upwork
  9. Collaborations
    1. Spa days
    2. Customer appreciation nights
    3. Partnerships with other coaches
  10. Writing
    1. Articles for magazines
    2. Guest blog post

Within each of these buckets of awareness activities, there are millions of different subtleties. There is a lot to learn to become the best in the world at getting people to know about you this way. So once you pick, you are going to focus on doing it for at least 10 hours a week (ideally you will invest 20 hours a week) for the next 90 days. Your goal is not to instantly get it right out of the gate. Your goal is to figure out how to become amazing at one method or channel for getting known, for making other people aware of your book and your work.

This list is not comprehensive. There are millions of options, and you can brainstorm a lot more of them specific to where you live, or the kind of work you do. Go through everything that you could possibly do, and then see what category your favorite things cluster in. Pick that one category that you are going to absolutely master. So that’s step one: Identify one awareness activity, at a high level, that you are going to focus on for 90 days, becoming the world’s best expert on your own behalf.

When I say, “get good at it,” I mean that you need to develop your skill and execution in the tactics, and you need to develop the management insight to support it. A good awareness channel is an awareness channel that generates enough leads to fill your practice. The reason we need at least 120 hours of evidence (ideally more like 250 hours) is because we have to be able to demonstrate and measure what works, and what doesn’t, for you in this channel. To have something to measure and repeat, we need to generate enough data for our conclusions from it to mean something. We need you to go to ten networking events, do your best to make connections, and see how many clients come from that, so we can measure the effectiveness of your ability to get clients from networking events. Or we need you to hand out 1000 flyers in front of a coffee shop and see how many people call you to inquire about services, and of those, how many become clients from that flyer.

You’ve got to actually do something and measure its success. When we know what’s working, we can adjust it, or revise our approach altogether. We can decide if it was the networking events that were a bad fit, or maybe your skills, or your ability to identify a prospect among your attendees, may need refining.

Most Authors think they failed because they picked the wrong awareness tactic.
Most Authors actually fail because they don’t do the work required to bring awareness to their work.

Authors who fail commonly fall into two categories when it comes to promoting their book:

  1. They do little to nothing, spending less than an hour a week promoting their work.
  2. They do a multitude of different things to promote their book, but they never get really good at developing an awareness method that leads to actual clients.

Authors who succeed:

  1. Have a single, focused, clear and consistent way to bring awareness to their work.
  2. Spend at least ten hours a week promoting themselves through that single channel.

Authors don’t fail because they picked the wrong tactics, they fail because they quit, or are too scattered or tentative. This is because they have failed to do the internal energetic work required to get your brain to settle down, and relax, for the fact is that you will not die if you do something different.

The Difference Between Good Failure and Bad Failure

There are so many conflicting messages aimed at people who are building a business. They tell you to trust your gut, and then they also tell you the good stuff happens outside your comfort zone. They tell you to “fail fast,” but then they also say take “aligned” action. I think the number one thing an entrepreneur can do to succeed is learn to discern between the contrasting, but equally correct, messages they will receive.

The reason I want you to commit to your awareness plan for 90 days is so that we get enough data to make smart decisions. That said, if you pick a plan that makes you want to jump off a bridge, you might change your method and restart the timer. Your job is to discern if making that change is actually an excuse, or an avoidance path, instead of a choice in service of your business. No one can do that work for you, and really, having a coach is the only way I have found to help me see into those blind spots.

To me, there are two kinds of failure. There is failure created by not taking action because you are “trying to figure things out,” “waiting for the right time,” or “needing to be in alignment.” And there is failure created by taking action and not getting the desired results. The second type of failure here is good failure – the kind that people mean when they say “fail fast.” Bad failure is thinking about it as merely possible action, but not pushing forward into acting at all. Good failure is trying things that may or may not lead to clients and doing some of them badly – but even those failures are meaningful. Your tactic either works and gets leads or works because it gets the information you need to know to improve. You can never get the insight, feedback, or confidence you need from sitting back and trying to figure it all out before you do anything.

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