Cover Page

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Acknowledgments

thanks

Michael's Story: Free at Last

NOT SO FAST

IT WORKED

Preface

How to Use This Book

Module 1: Your Foundation

Chapter 1: The Book Yourself Solid Red Velvet Rope Policy

1.1 THE RED VELVET ROPE POLICY

Chapter 2: Why People Buy What You're Selling

1.2 WHY PEOPLE BUY WHAT YOU'RE SELLING

Chapter 3: Develop a Personal Brand

1.3 DEVELOP A PERSONAL BRAND

Chapter 4: How to Talk About What You Do

1.4 HOW TO TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU DO

Module 2: Building Trust & Credibility

Chapter 5: Credibility & Likability

2.5 CREDIBILITY AND LIKABILITY

Chapter 6: The Book Yourself Solid Sales Cycle Process

2.6 THE SALES CYCLE PROCESS

Chapter 7: The Book Yourself Solid Keep in Touch Strategy

2.7 THE KEEP IN TOUCH STRATEGY

Chapter 8: The Book Yourself Solid Information Products Strategy

2.8 THE INFORMATION PRODUCTS STRATEGY

Module 3: Perfect Pricing & Simple Selling

Chapter 9: Perfect Pricing

3.9 Perfect Pricing

Chapter 10: Super Simple Selling

3.10 SUPER SIMPLE SELLING

Module 4: The 6 Core Self-Promotion Strategies

Chapter 11: The Book Yourself Solid Networking Strategy

4.11 THE NETWORKING STRATEGY

Chapter 12: The Book yourself Solid Direct Outreach Strategy

4.12 THE DIRECT OUTREACH STRATEGY

Chapter 13: The Book Yourself Solid Referral Strategy

4.13 THE REFERRAL STRATEGY

Chapter 14: The Book Yourself Solid Speaking Strategy

4.14 THE SPEAKING STRATEGY

Chapter 15: The Book Yourself Solid Writing Strategy

4.15 THE WRITING STRATEGY

Chapter 16: The Book Yourself Solid Web Strategy

4.16 THE WEB STRATEGY

Final Thoughts

About the Authors and How to Reach Them

References

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Acknowledgments

The first line of the acknowledgments section in virtually every book goes something like this: To list everyone I want to thank for their contributions to this book would be a book in itself. You really don't know how true that is until you write your own book.

Book Yourself Solid Illustrated is the third in the Book Yourself Solid line of books and I think it's the best. I wish I could take credit for it but the book is better than my original because of the contributions of Jocelyn Wallace. Her talent is immeasurable and her work ethic is, frankly, astonishing.

My agent, Stephen Hanselman, is the coolest cat in town. My right-hand man, Matthew Kimberley, is the most trustworthy and capable business partner a guy can have. My ops team, lead by Jaimie and Dan VanSickle, allow me to live the life of my dreams. My partner, Petra Kolber, is a beacon in a sea of mediocrity. My son, Jake, makes me a better person. In all of these relationships, I'm the lucky one.

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Michael Port

New York Times bestselling author...
Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid,
The Contrarian Effect, and The Think Big Manifesto

 

thanks

Michael is right as usual—I can't thank everyone who played a role in making this book possible. But there are a few who get me choked up. Head nods, fist bumps, and high-fives:

To my morning reading companion. Thanks for the gift. I hope it makes you smile.

To my rock star husband, Andy. You cooked, cleaned, and transported kids while I worked late nights and weekends on this book. What husband would do that? Not many. Love is a verb, and you showed it. Thank you.

To my brilliant son, Adam. You gave it to me straight when my ideas weren't working. And when I was discouraged, you told me not to sweat it, and that I could do it, keep trying. “Give it your VERY best, Mom!” ... Ahh, those words sound familiar.

To my beautiful daughter, Lauren. I'm so glad you are still young enough to want hugs every day—they were welcome interruptions. You didn't know it, but many of the visuals and teaching strategies in this book were inspired by you and the things you love. Can you find them?

To Michael Port, you are a genius and I deeply respect your work. Even though the Book Yourself Solid strategies are serious business, you were open to letting me teach the principles in a fun and memorable way. Thanks for the opportunity to help business owners through your work.

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Jocelyn Wallace
Visual Strategist, Little-Big Cheese at Red Eleven Group, LLC

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Michael's Story: Free at Last

In early 2000 I was utterly dissatisfied and completely disillusioned with my work as the vice president of programming at an entertainment company. The environment felt like a prison—long hours, unresponsive colleagues, and no personal engagement. Sound familiar?

I decided to embark on a new career path as a professional business coach and consultant: a service professional. I secretly passed the time reading, researching, studying, and honing my coaching skills. After much planning, my freedom date was marked on every calendar in my apartment with a huge victorious smiley face. My resignation letter was signed, sealed, and ready for delivery. I could hardly keep my legs from sprinting out the door to follow my heart and head (both of which had checked out long ago).

On that auspicious day, I received the envelope with my bonus inside, ran to the bank, cleared the check, and proudly delivered my letter of resignation. The joy, pride, and satisfaction at that moment was incredible. I floated home and woke up the next day to plunge into my career as a business owner serving others.

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NOT SO FAST

I didn't bask for long in the glory, however, before I realized I was in for trouble.

Call me crazy, but I really thought clients were just going to fall into my lap. I expected them to meet me, fall in love with me, and trade their money for my services. Instead, I moped about my very costly New York City apartment, panicking, feeling sorry for myself, and doing trivial busy work that wasn't going to generate a dime of income.

Within six months I was desperate, which heralded a new phase of my life. I was fed up. I'd reached my limit. I was not going to throw in the towel and give up on my career as a business owner. My innate need to support and provide, to serve the people I was meant to serve, kicked into high gear one chilly New York morning.

Rather than dwelling on the cold reality of my financial struggle and the bitter temperature outside, I worked every single day for no less than 16 hours to succeed and pay the bills. I poured myself into more resources and studied everything I could get my hands on about how to attract clients, communicate effectively, sell, market, and promote my services. First and foremost, I wanted to learn how to love marketing and selling by turning it into a meaningful spiritual pursuit.

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IT WORKED

It worked. Within 10 months I was booked solid with more clients than I could handle. But the personal checks I cashed were not the most valuable part of my business. The real heart of what I was creating was the turnkey system that propelled my business and income every month.

I started sharing my success secrets with a small group of trusted clients, and I watched their success unfold before my eyes. I could hear confidence, pride, and accomplishment in their voices. Their businesses boomed!

I immediately began to engineer a completely replicable system that I could pass on to you. That system is the Book Yourself Solid system, and you're holding it in your hands, the same system I've been teaching to thousands of other service professionals around the world in my live seminars and Book Yourself Solid Intensive Coaching programs. The results are powerful.

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Michael Port

Preface

If you have something to say, if there are people you want to serve, then there are people whom you are meant to serve. If you're in the business of serving others, your job is to find them. It will be easy if you do it the Book Yourself Solid way. And 90 percent of those surveyed who have fully implemented the Book Yourself Solid system have increased their revenues by over 40 percent within one year of reading the book. How do you like them apples?

While you'll no doubt get great value just from reading this book, the true value—and your success—lies in your decision to take an active role and to participate fully, learning in action. In doing so, you will begin an evolutionary journey of personal and business development that will empower you to achieve the success you know you're capable of. And now that we've created the illustrated version of Book Yourself Solid, it's even easier to learn it, be inspired by it, and apply it.

There may be two simple reasons why you don't serve as many clients as you'd like to today:

1. You don't know what to do to attract and secure more clients.
2. You know what to do, but you're not actually doing it!

The Book Yourself Solid system is designed to help you solve both of these problems. I will give you all the information you need to book even more clients than you can handle; I will give you the strategies, techniques, and tips. If you already know what to do but aren't doing it, I'll inspire you into action and help you stay accountable so you build the business of your dreams and live the life you want to live.

So many talented and inspired service professionals like you run from marketing and sales because they have come to believe that the marketing and selling process is pushy and self-centered and borders on sleazy. This old-school paradigm is not the Book Yourself Solid way; it is the typical client-snagging mentality. And you must never fall into this way of thinking and being. If you do, you'll operate in a mentality of scarcity and shame as opposed to one of abundance and integrity.

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How to Use This Book

The Book Yourself Solid system is organized into four modules:

1. Your Foundation.
2. Building Trust and Credibility.
3. Perfect Pricing and Simple Selling.
4. The Book Yourself Solid 6 Core Self-Promotion Strategies.

In Module One we begin by building a foundation for your service business that is unshakable. If you are truly serious about becoming a supersuccessful service professional, you must have a steadfast foundation on which to stand.

In Module Two you will then be ready to create and implement a strategy for building trust and credibility. You'll be considered a credible expert in your field and you'll start to earn the trust of the people you'd like to serve.

In Module Three you'll price your offerings in the sweet spot of the customer's desires and you'll know how to have sales conversations of the highest integrity that work.

In Module Four I will teach you how to execute the 6 core self-promotion strategies, thereby creating awareness for the valuable services you offer.

To help you design a service business overflowing with clients who inspire and energize you, this book includes written exercises and Booked Solid Action Steps that will support you in thinking bigger about your business. You have options for doing the exercises: You may either write on the pages of this book, or go to www.BookYourselfSolid.com to download our electronic tools. Step-by-step I walk you through the actions you need to complete on the path to serving as many clients as your heart desires.

If you follow the system, it will work for you. No skipping, jumping, or moving ahead—the Book Yourself Solid 6 Core Self-Promotion Strategies are effectively implemented only after your foundation, credibility-building, pricing, and sales strategies are in place. One of the main reasons that service professionals say they hate marketing and selling is that they're trying to market without these essential elements, which is like eating an egg before it's cooked—of course, you'll hate it. So no matter how compelled you are to skip ahead, I urge you to please follow the system and watch the process unfold.

Ready to get started? Let's do it!

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Module 1

Your Foundation

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THE SYSTEMS CHECK

Before a pilot confidently and powerfully lifts a plane into the air for a long journey, she charts her flight plan and performs an all systems check while she's on the ground. This takes time and must be done meticulously. Make one mistake and the consequences can be dire.

The same is true when developing your marketing system. Skip the prep work and you won't even get to the jet-way. In the Book Yourself Solid system I refer to this systems check as Your Foundation.

Your Foundation is where most of the heavy lifting is done. Rarely does a new business owner spend enough time laying their foundation. Instead, they think they're meant to start marketing immediately—as if marketing is what gets them clients. It's not.

Surprised? I would think so. Rarely does marketing get you clients. It simply creates awareness for the products and services you offer. The awareness needed to lead potential buyers into your sales cycle.

Think of marketing as the fuel that powers your client-generating engine. If your fuel tank runs empty, you'll take a nosedive. Marketing just gets your sales process moving. It's what you do during the journey that helps you book the business.

Your Foundation

MODULE ONE

To be booked solid requires that you have a solid foundation.

THAT FOUNDATION BEGINS LIKE THIS:

Over the course of Module One, I'll walk you through the process of building your foundation so that you have a platform on which to stand, a perfectly engineered structure that will support all of your business development and marketing, and—dare I add—personal growth. That's because being in business for yourself, especially as someone who stands in the service of others, requires constant personal reflection and spiritual growth.

Building your foundation is a bit like putting a puzzle together. We're going to take it one piece at a time, and when we're done, you'll have laid the foundation for booking yourself solid.

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1.1 THE RED VELVET ROPE POLICY

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.

— Raymond Hull

Imagine that a friend has invited you to accompany her to an invitation-only special event. You arrive and approach the door, surprised to find a red velvet rope stretched between two shiny brass poles. A nicely dressed man asks your name, checking his invitation list. Finding your name there, he flashes a wide grin and drops one end of the rope, allowing you to pass through and enter the party. You feel like a star.

Do you have your own Red Velvet Rope Policy that allows in only the most ideal clients, the ones who energize and inspire you? If you don't, you will shortly.

The Red Velvet Rope Policy

Why should you have a Red Velvet Rope Policy?

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First, because when you work with clients you love, you'll truly enjoy the work you're doing; you'll love every minute of it. And when you love every minute of the work you do, you'll do your best work, which is essential to book yourself solid.

Second, because you are your clients. They are an expression and an extension of you. Do you remember when you were a teenager and your mother or father would give you a hard time about someone you were hanging out with? Your parents may have said that a particular kid reflected badly on you and was a bad influence. As a teen you may have thought about how unfair that felt, but the truth is that you are the company you keep. Let this be the imperative of your business: Choose your clients as carefully as you choose your friends.

The first step in building your foundation is to choose your ideal clients, the individuals or businesses with whom you do your best work, the people or environments that energize and inspire you. I'm going to help you identify specific characteristics of individuals or organizations that would make them ideal to work with. You will then develop a rigorous screening process to find more of them. I'm also going to help you prune your current client list of less-than-ideal clients.

When I began my business I would work with anyone who had a pulse and a checkbook. Then I began to consider what it would mean to choose my clients. What it would mean to work only with clients that were ideal for me. And thank goodness I did. Now I live by what I call the Red Velvet Rope Policy of ideal clients. It increases my productivity and my happiness, it allows me to do my best work, and I have more clients and referrals than I can handle by myself. And so will you.

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For maximum joy, prosperity, and abundance, think about the person you are when you are performing optimally, when you are with all the people who inspire and energize you. Now think about all of the frustration, tension, and anxiety you feel when you work with clients who are less than ideal—not so good, right?

Wouldn't it be great to spend every day working with clients who are ideal for you, clients whom you can hardly believe you get paid to work with? This ideal is completely possible once you identify who you want to work with and determine with certainty that you will settle for nothing less. Once you do that, it's just a matter of knowing which of your existing clients qualify and how to acquire more just like them.

Creating Your Red Velvet Rope Policy

Start thinking about what your Red Velvet Rope Policy might look like. Can you picture an ideal client and their qualities and traits? What makes someone move into the star client category for you?

MY STAR CLIENTS HAVE THESE QUALITIES:

Your list might look completely different. Maybe you only want to work with certain types of clients. Maybe reliability or long-term goals are important to you. Maybe your top priority is how often a client works with you or how many projects they do with you. The economic status of a client may be one factor, but remember—it's only one of many. In fact, it's often a primary consideration for many service professionals who wind up working with clients who are less than ideal.

So take heed—the economic status of a potential client should be only one of many considerations. Notice that my list considers the quality of my ideal clients first—who they are rather than what they have or the circumstances they're in.

Overall, I want you to envision what your business can be like when you work with ideal clients.

THE BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH STAR CLIENTS ARE MANY:

It's a pretty fun ride!

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Written Exercise 1A

WHAT QUALITIES SHOULD YOUR STAR CLIENTS POSSESS?

Use the visual worksheet that follows for the exercise below.

STEP 1: Think about your ideal potential client, using these questions to prompt you:

What kind of environment do you want to create in your life? And who will get past the Red Velvet Rope Policy that protects you?

List the qualities, values, or personal characteristics you'd like your ideal clients to possess.

 

Click here to download worksheet (password: bookedsolidnow): www.bookyourselfsolidillustrated.com/worksheets

 

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Written Exercise 1B

YOUR CURRENT IDEAL CLIENTS

Use the visual worksheet that follows for the exercise below.

STEP 1: Now let's look at your current client base.

In the Written Exercise Worksheet on the next page, use the blank space to write down the names of clients, or people you've worked with, whom you love to be around.

STEP 2: Get a clear picture of these people in your head. Write down the top five reasons that you love working with them.

What about working with them turns you on?

 

Click here to download worksheet (password: bookedsolidnow): www.bookyourselfsolidillustrated.com/worksheets

 

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Written Exercise 1C

THE BEST OF THE BEST

Use the visual worksheet that follows for the exercise below.

STEP 1: Now go deeper. If you were working only with ideal clients, what qualities would they absolutely need to possess in order for you to do your best work with them?
List what you need in order to be successful with those best of the best clients.
Be honest and don't worry about excluding people. Be selfish. Think about yourself. For this exercise, assume you will work only with the best of the best. Be brave and bold and write without thinking or filtering your thoughts.
STEP 2: When you are with your best clients, you are at your best too. As you are working on Step 1, think about examples of great results for both you and your clients when you are at your best. Write your thoughts down. Let this list spur ideas for the list in Step 1, and vice versa.

 

Click here to download worksheet (password: bookedsolidnow): www.bookyourselfsolidillustrated.com/worksheets

 

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Dump the Duds

Author and business guru Tom Peters takes us a step further. In Reinventing Work: The Professional Service Firm 50, he challenges us to dump our dud clients. “Dump my clients?!” you exclaim. I can just hear your shocked protestations and exclamations. “ I thought this was a book about getting clients, not dumping them! ” But Peters is referring to the dud clients—not all of your clients. It sounds harsh, but think about it. Your dud clients are those you dread interacting with, who drain the life out of you, bore you to tears, frustrate you, or worse, instill in you the desire to do them—or yourself—bodily harm, despite your loving nature.

I'm well aware of the many reasons you think you can't dump your dud clients, and I know this can seem really scary early on, but hang in there with me. Embrace the concept and trust that this is sound advice from a loving teacher and a necessary step on the path to booking yourself solid.

Why have clients, or anyone for that matter, in your life who zap your energy and leave you feeling empty? In the first year of being in business on my own, I cut 10 clients in one week. It wasn't easy. It required a major leap of faith, but the emotional and financial rewards were astonishing. Within three months, I had replaced all 10 and added 6 more. Not only did I increase my revenue, I felt more peaceful and calm than I ever had before, and I enjoyed my clients and my work more.

When I asked myself the question, “Would I rather spend my days working with incredibly amazing, exciting, super cool, awesome people who are both clients and friends, or spend one more agonizing, excruciating minute working with barely tolerable clients who suck the life out me?” I had no choice. I knew the temporary financial loss would be worth the payoff.

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Written Exercise 1D

DUMP THE DUDS

Use the visual worksheet that follows for the exercise below.

STEP 1: To begin to identify the types of clients you don't want, consider which characteristics or behaviors you refuse to tolerate. What turns you off or shuts you down? What kinds of people should not be getting past the red velvet rope that protects you and your business?
STEP 2: Now take a good, hard look at your current clients. Be absolutely honest with yourself. Who among your current clients fits the profile you've just created of people who should not have gotten past the red velvet rope that protects you and your business?
STEP 3: Now take the Booked Solid Action Step listed in the Visual Worksheet.
Taking a Booked Solid Action Step is a bold action and requires courage. And courage is not about being fearless—it's about owning your fear and using it to move you forward, to give you strength. There is no more rewarding feeling than the pride you'll feel once you've moved past the fear to do what you set out to do. Maybe you'll find it easier to take it one step at a time. Start by referring out just one of those dud clients. The feeling of empowerment you'll have once you've done it will motivate you to continue pruning your list of clients until the duds have all been removed.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T (YET) HAVE CLIENTS

But, Michael, what if I just started my business and don't yet have clients, let alone dud clients? Ah, yes, excellent point, my new friend. Consider yourself lucky! You'll never have to worry about dud clients because you'll put your Red Velvet Rope Policy in place on Day One.

In just a moment, you'll begin to create your Red Velvet Rope Policy. If you're starting a new business, and don't yet have many, or any, clients to speak of at this point, as you're working through the exercises, think about current or former co-workers, friends, or even service providers that you've hired in the past. To create your future Red Velvet Rope Policy you'll be able to draw on your past experiences—who inspired you and who made you want to do them bodily harm. Refrain. Rewind. Remember: love and kindness. Love and kindness.

 

Click here to download worksheet (password: bookedsolidnow): www.bookyourselfsolidillustrated.com/worksheets

 

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Pruning Your Client List

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If you're struggling with the idea of pruning your client list, keep in mind that it's for your client's benefit as much as it is for yours. If you're feeling empty and drained, or frustrated and dreading the interaction with the client, you're giving that client far less than your best, and it's both of you who are suffering for it. You owe it to these clients to refer them to someone who can, and will, do their best work with them. If you are working with people with whom you do not do your best work, you are out of integrity. And as we discussed earlier, you are your clients. When your clients go out into the world and speak of you to others, they are representing you.

With whom do you want to be associated—the duds or the ideal clients? It's also the ideal clients, those who are wildly happy with you and your services, who are most likely to go out and talk about you to others, to refer other clients like themselves, more ideal clients. The fewer duds you allow to hang around, the more ideal clients you have room for, the more referrals you'll get, and so on.

Clients are like family to me, so I know this can be hard. I lived through a period of intense and painful negative energy worrying about those challenging client relationships. It exhausted me and took me away from accomplishing the highest good for my clients. It was impossible for me to be productive, effective, or successful when working with less-than-ideal clients.

Let me share a story with you about myself and my former landscaper, when I was the less-than-ideal client. For a variety of reasons, my landscaper and I were just not a good fit for each other. One of them being that every so often I'd cut the grass on a whim and then his guys would show up with nothing to mow. Instead, I'd ask them to do other projects on the property, which I thought was reasonable. Anyhow, the point is, he had issues with me; he knew I wasn't his ideal client, but rather than tell me so, he stayed with me while getting more and more annoyed until he blew up and acted like a jerk, forcing me to let him go. More than likely, he didn't feel comfortable dumping his dud clients, or the idea had never even crossed his mind. Granted, pruning his dud clients wouldn't have been as easy as pruning his clients’ trees, but had he not allowed the situation to deteriorate and end on such a bad note, I might have been able to refer other clients to him who would have been ideal for him. His inability to take the Booked Solid Action Step of letting his less-than-ideal clients go left both of us dissatisfied with the situation and jeopardized his reputation.

This is what can happen when you work with clients who are not ideal for you. At some point, you're going to create a conflict, whether intentionally or not, because you're going to be frustrated with those clients. Those clients will think you're not providing them with good service, and they'll be right. It doesn't serve you or the client when you stay in a less-than-ideal situation. Please don't make the same mistake my landscaper did. If you do, you'll have former clients going out into the world telling anyone who will listen that you're the worst person to work with.

There's nothing wrong with your dud clients, of course. They're just not right for you. Clients who are not ideal for you could be ideal for someone else. So keep in mind that you don't need to fire clients; you just need to help them find a better fit. You can be tactful, diplomatic, and loving. You can even attempt, when appropriate, to refer them to a colleague who might be a better fit. Whenever possible, keep it simple. Try, “I'm not the best person to serve you.” Or, “I don't think we'd be a good fit.”

Are you always going to get a positive response when dumping your dud clients? Probably not. If the first thing that comes to mind is, “I don't want anyone out there thinking badly of me,” I'm with you. I want everyone to love me, too. But living life fully requires difficult conversations and you can never please everyone. To even try is an exercise in futility, as the following fable demonstrates.

Written Exercise 1E

IDEAL CLIENTS, THE DUDS, AND EVERYONE ELSE

Use the visual worksheet that follows for the exercise below.

STEP 1: Divide your clients into Duds, Mid-Range, and Ideal Clients. Don't hold back or leave anyone out.
As if that weren't enough, you may begin to notice that many of your mid-range clients, those who made neither the ideal client nor the dud list, are undergoing a transformation. Why? While you were working with dud clients, you weren't performing at your best. If you think that wasn't affecting your other clients, think again. The renewed energy and the more positive environment you'll create as a result of letting go of the duds will most likely rejuvenate the relationships between you and some of your mid-range clients, turning many of them into ideal clients.
STEP 2: Focus on the Mid-Range Clients for a moment.

From the Mid-Range Client list:

MID-RANGE CLIENTS: DUMP ‘EM OR DEVELOP ‘EM

Brainstorm your own ideas for developing these mid-range clients into stars. Contemplate the ways in which you may, even inadvertently, have contributed to some of your clients being less than ideal clients.

Go ahead—turn off your left-brain logical mind for a moment and let your right-brain creativity go wild.

Observe carefully the ways in which your relationships with your clients begin to shift as you embrace the Book Yourself Solid way. Some of your Mid-Range Clients may fall away—and they should move to the Dud List. Others may step up their game and slide into the Ideal Client category.

When you're fully self-expressed, fully demonstrating your values and your views, you'll naturally attract and draw to yourself those you're best suited to work with, and you'll push away those you're not meant to work with.

 

Click here to download worksheet (password: bookedsolidnow): www.bookyourselfsolidillustrated.com/worksheets

 

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The Old Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

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An old man, a boy, and a donkey were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked beside him. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people who remarked, “What a shame! He makes that little boy walk.” They then decided they both would walk.

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So they both rode the donkey.

Later, they passed some people who shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal, and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story? If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass good-bye.

The point is that you are looking for qualities in a person that you resonate with, so don't limit yourself to just thinking about the clients that you don't yet have. Your Red Velvet Rope Policy is a filtration system that lets in ideal clients. However, you can choose to loosen or tighten the rope at will. I'm not (necessarily) asking you to turn away your very first clients. I understand what you're up against. When you start your business, if you feel that you'd like to keep your red velvet rope a little looser so you can work with more clients, go ahead. Just make sure you know what is ideal and what isn't ideal about the people you're letting into the VIP room. As you become booked solid, you'll tighten your red velvet rope and become even more exclusive so as to work only with those who energize and inspire you—and most important—allow you to do your best work.

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A Perpetual Process

The process we've just worked through is one that you must do on a regular basis. Pruning your client list is a perpetual process because all relationships naturally cycle. The positive and dynamic relationships you have now with your ideal clients may at some point reach a plateau, and the time may come to go your separate ways. You'll get more comfortable with the process over time. It's one that has so many rewards that it's well worth the effort.

Let Tom Peters sum it up for us: “This is your life. You are your clients. It is fair, sensible, and imperative to make these judgments. To dodge doing so shows a lack of integrity.”

I'll go one step further and say that doing so is one of the best and smartest business and life decisions you can make. It's crucial to your success and your happiness. Prune regularly and before you know it, you'll be booked solid with clients you love working with.

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1.2 WHY PEOPLE BUY WHAT YOU'RE SELLING

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.

— Henry Ford

The next few steps we take down the Book Yourself Solid path will either feel like you're skipping over stepping-stones or like you're taking giant leaps of faith. Either way, these few steps will be well worth the time spent. The most important thing is to submit to the process. Stay by my side as we walk and work together on getting you booked solid.

Taking the following four steps will help you keenly understand why people buy what you're selling, an essential component in creating relentless demand for your services.

STEP 1: Identify your target market.
STEP 2: Understand the urgent needs and compelling desires of your target market.
STEP 3: Determine the number one biggest result your clients get.
STEP 4: Uncover and demonstrate the benefits of your investable opportunities.

STEP 1: Identify Your Target Market

Now that you've looked at the qualities of the people you want to work with, it's time to identify your target market, that is—the specific group of people or businesses you serve. For example, your target market might be seniors in Vancouver, BC, or mothers who have their own home-based networking marketing business or orthopedic surgeons. Your ideal clients are a small subset of the target market you choose to serve. Remember, your ideal clients are those individuals who energize and inspire you; your target market is the demographics of the group you're most passionate about serving. It is just as important to identify the right target market, as it is to identify the ideal clients.

It's also important to understand the difference between your target market and your niche. If you've done other research or reading on the subject of building your business, you may have heard both of these terms before, and you may have heard them used interchangeably. However, in the Book Yourself Solid system, they are not synonymous. There's an important distinction between the two: Your target market is the group of people you serve, and your niche is the service you specialize in offering to your target market. For example, you and I may both serve the same target market, say, service professionals, but offer them different services. I might specialize in getting clients and you might help them create systems for their business.

Even if you believe you have identified and chosen a target market, please don't skip this section. I often see service professionals who are struggling because either they've chosen a target market that isn't as specific as it needs to be, or they've chosen a target market based on what they think is the most logical and most lucrative choice, rather than one they feel passionate about serving. For the sake of your own success, read through this section, even if you don't think you need to. Trust me. If your target market isn't specific enough or the right one for you, the rest of the book won't be as effective. And besides, you just might be surprised at what you discover.

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Three Reasons to Choose a Target Market

If you're just starting out in your business, or if you've been working in your business for a while but are not yet booked solid, you may be tempted to market to anyone and everyone with the assumption that the more people you market to, the more clients you'll get. While narrowing your market to gain more clients may seem counterintuitive, that's exactly what you need to do to successfully book yourself solid. That said, there are three primary reasons to choose a target market:

1. YOU'll KNOW WHERE TO FIND THEM. It helps you determine where to find potential clients who are looking for what you have to offer. If you have a target market, you know where to concentrate your marketing efforts and what to offer that is compelling and well received. You know what associations to speak to, magazines and journals to write for, and influential people with whom to network—you know where your potential clients gather. Voila! You now know where to show up.
2. YOU'll DISCOVER THEIR NETWORKS. Virtually every target market already has some kind of network of communication established. For your marketing to work, your clients need to spread your messages for you. If they already have a network of communication set up, they can talk to each other about you and your marketing messages can travel that much faster. What are networks of communication? Environments that are set up to help a group communicate—as I mentioned earlier: associations, social networking sites, clubs, various publications, events, and more.
3. THEY WILL KNOW YOU ARE COMMITTED TO SERVING THEM. And, finally, choosing a target market lets the people in that target market know that you've dedicated your life's work to them.

Marketing and sales isn't about trying to persuade, coerce, or manipulate people into buying your services. It's about putting yourself out in front of, and offering your services to, those whom you are meant to serve—people who already need and are looking for your services.