One of the biggest threats facing business owners like yourself today is the massive distribution of relentless misinformation.
And it’s rampant.
Here’s why and why you should be careful. It can cost you a fortune. It can close your business. It can lose you sales.
In the year 2000 I had mastered Search Engine listings for my early websites. If you typed in the words
Just my website and 2-3 others would appear. That was the option to choose from.
Type it in today and you will see that there are almost TWENTY ONE MILLION websites now trying to sell you services as a copywriter.
Now the following is based on what I see and know based on conversations with clients and ‘experts’.
Some will say more is good.
Others will say too much choice is just too much choice.
Others will ask how the hell do you find what you are looking for out of 21 million websites all saying the same things.
This should help you but lets understand a couple of things first.
Writing copy or giving advice is a dedicated skill. It isn’t just about words as I will explain.
I started writing copy around the year 1985. I had to write to get sales into and through my new businesses after I had been fired again. I listened very carefully to the words people would use when thinking about my services. I would carefully walk through the mental process of my buyers. I would think about every word at every stage of the buying process. I would then list words in no particular order until I could see in front of me strings of words my targets would use.
I had single words. Group words. Sentences. Fear words. Calming words and just about every type of word I pulled together after very carefully picking through them during my researching.
Beyond that I would then use the words and paragraphs until I found what would and would not work. That could, can and does take real time from any day. So it was practice and trying a lot of different things. I soon found out what did and would never work. The science and art was coming together. That starting process took years (not days or weeks). My early advertising was very effective due to trying everything in the real world, on the front lines of daily business.
By 1995 clients had started to ask me who wrote my adverts for me? When I told them I was asked if I could I write for them. I started writing for clients using proven formulas I had learnt over the previous ten years.
Twenty years later in 2005 I had created copywriting for clients all over the world with some pretty spectacular results going into the millions.
Thirty years later I have tried just about everything in copy. I’ve seen all the failures and a ton of successes.
And it isn’t just myself. People like Bob Bly, John Carlton, Michel Fortin and a few others who are at the very top of their game all have long time-served experience behind them in this business.
Yet I can count on both hands the brilliant copywriters I would share admiration with.
And copy is just one aspect of business we are talking about.
So that raises a real issue for you as someone that needs help and advice for their business using words, messages, tactics, strategies and copy because I have seen a problem rise to a level where it is now absolutely out of hand.
Here is the problem.
In the past a client would come to me for consulting, business and help with sales in their business. I was usually the very first port of call. I have observed that is no longer the case.
When a client calls me he has usually tried 2,3 4 or many more ‘experts’ before he gets to me. That same clients has also usually spent a small fortune to those ‘experts’ so that when he finally gets his invoice from myself he has spent not just 5 times more than he used to spend but has lost a fortune in time and lost sales. One client I met had spent £22,000 on advice that lost him what he called ‘hundreds of thousands’ in sales. This isn’t uncommon these days.
So the web has created a huge problem for you as a business person that wants more success and it is this.
We have seen the massive rise of the guru ,the rise of the expert and the rise of those that claim to know everything but simply outsource what you need to someone across the world hoping you will never notice.
And there is an even bigger problem.
How do they get their education and expertise?
A huge majority love the idea of being a recognised expert. They read a book, read another book and then rather than have real experience they simply sell what they have read. That isn’t a good thing for you because you are not a simple formula from a book are you?
Now some might say I also read books and became an expert doing just that.
That isn’t quite true.
I have been writing and creating business solutions and results since 1985. I have tried, tested and can confidently say that I absolutely know what will not work which also means I know what will work for you. Because I have sent out tons of direct marketing, I have had to get myself busy time and time again. I have had too give my clients results time and time again. So what I share with my clients isn’t just a book its real experience from real business as well as recognised expertise. And of course this isn’t really just about me, this is about the difficulty you will have finding a real master these days.
But Alan these guys are so cheap compared to someone like yourself?
Listen cheap medicine is cheap but I wouldn’t take it would you? As I said earlier most clients that now come to me have usually failed with maybe five ‘experts’ already. That isn’t the fault of you the client that is the sole responsibility of the person that faked their way into your bank balance.
Now there is one more problem and this is huge. A book that an ‘expert’ will use will tell them a system or a way of doing things. In my experience that cannot work and here is why.
Every business is unique. Every target marketplace is unique. Every business has its voice that should be maintain or created. Every buyer has a way of thinking that buyers from other business don’t think. You cannot learn that from a book. You have to test things, experience things, try things until you get the mix right.
But when you work with an expert that has already worked in 400 industries over a 31-year period you know at least they must know what they are doing otherwise they would have been out of business a long time ago.
So the following is a list of things that will help you for sure weed out the imposters that earn a living misinforming and destroying business like yours.
And yes they do destroy businesses like yours. I have seen it on many occasions where bad advice has led to disaster.
So here is a checklist in no particular order of what I would personally look for in a consultant and what you should look for. The list is in no particular order.
- Service driven
- Lots of social proof
- Good strong traceable testimonials
- Years in service
- Skill set and how they got their skill sets
- Client list
- What kind of big promises do they make
- Guarantees if any
- Years in business
- Comparable results with your business
- Impressive stats
- Do they understand data
- Have they direct mail experience
- Do they understand copy to core message sequencing
- Can they explain triggering?
- How do they feel about ‘memes’?
- Do they have their own REAL business – in other words not just selling expertise but experience?
- Do they know what leverage is?
- Do they understand innovation and when to innovate?
- How many tears experience online and can they show results?
- How do they feel about old vs. new media?
- Why is their fee set the way it is set?
- Are they open to any other form of payment?
- Can they give a time frame on results?
- Can you see yourself working for them as a long term relationship?
- So misinformation is a real problem today that is only going to get worse.
- And play around with any questions you feel you deserve an answer to before anything is started.
- Once you decide whom you would like to work with do this.
- Make an initial enquiry and see how you FEEL about the response from the consultant or expert.
- How was the email written? How did your phone call go? Do they sound as though they know what they are talking about?
The feeling you get will reveal more than the actual response.
Once you feel good about dealing with them make sure you have your list of pre-written questions and be very blunt when asking them … “do you have the answer to this question?”
How much should you pay them per hour? Personally I wouldn’t care as long as the return on investment is worth the payment. I have bought books and spend months learning from them.
The books have made me tens of thousands in sales but it has also taken me months and months to learn the new skill. Today I simply pay for the information to be fast tracked into new sales.
It really depends on how much you value your time or how fast you want success?
You do want faster success right?
These are very dangerous times for people like yourself that are looking for good advice. Just be careful, do your homework and tread very carefully before you make any huge commitment to anyone.
Has this helped you?
Please leave a comment at the bottom or share or like so I know how you feel.
Heres to more success for you.
Alan Forrest Smith