In our last lesson, we discussed the credibility power that LinkedIn gives you on the phone, especially from your raving fans’ strong recommendations. We can summarize that power by its ability to credibly convey to your prospects exactly what you do and what benefits your clients and candidates receive by working with you. This month, we’re going to consider the second medium that will empower your telephone selling success: blogging.
I’ll introduce blogging to you first, in precisely the same way it was introduced to me. Then, we’ll walk through the steps you must take if you’re going to ensure a powerful return on investment.
Converting Pasquale – Or, the Irresistible Desire to be a DOMAIN EXPERT
If you’ve followed this series, you already know about my son Nico’s role in converting me into the use of social media to empower my own Diehard Phone Jockey practice. There were several others along the way who helped greatly. When it comes to blogging, though, it was my client and friend Pete Rouillard who pushed me over the line. Pete is a seasoned technology executive, and as a recruiter, it is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professionals he places. With his long experience and exhaustive vistas overlooking the technology and media worlds, Pete hit me most strongly with this one concept: Domain Expert.
Old school soul that I am, when I hear new buzz words like that, my first reaction is to close my mind. I’d heard those words for years before Pete explained their power to me, and that’s exactly what I’d done, closed my mind. Pete simply laughed at me, and told me that in everything I do I’m always seeking – whether I like the words or not – the reality of being granted “Domain Expert” status. Pete explained that I didn’t have to like the words, I simply had to face the truth. That’s the kind of argument that always gets my attention.
He forced me to break the two words apart. What is a “Domain?” In old school terms, it’s just a market. And, when you’re on the phone attempting to sell just one person, that one person is your current “Domain.” But, if you follow classical marketing definitions, we all know that even just one person is always tied to others and influenced by their perceptions and by the scuttlebutt about what’s hot and what’s not, etc. So, who does the prospect you’re speaking to listen to? Whom is he or she connected to and influenced by? These people are your domain.
Also, from traditional marketing, we know that we must always build our UVP (Unique Value Proposition). The word “Expert” is just a shorter term for the same thing. What is unique about you that would inform a prospect working with you as opposed to anyone else? What unique value do you bring to play? Or, in today’s world, just what qualifies you as an Expert?
What Pete closed me on was this: a Domain Expert is PRECISELY the person a prospect wants to, no, NEEDS to do business with. I realized that I had to open up my mind.
A Blog is Where You Say What You’ve Got To Say
This is exactly what a blog is all about. Look back at those LinkedIn recommendations. What was their key? They were credible, and written by others who are easily found and connected with for verification. Your credibility is built by what others say about you, more than your claims made in a brief encounter. But, there is absolutely a place for you to win the trust and desire to work with you, by your own words. Think of it this way…
A blog is where you say what you have to say.
What’s your message? What’s your position? Where do you stand? To flesh this out, we need one more new term: Cyberspace.
I know, it’s not the hottest of the techno-buzzwords right now, but it’s so helpful in coming to understand your blog. Cyberspace may be electronic space, online, but it is still SPACE. That is, if I want to know who you are, really, and what your position is, WHERE do I go to find that out? Again, the answer is your blog.
It is a common formula that people do business with those that they:
Know, Like, and Trust.
Your blog is where they’re going to come to know you.
What Will You Write About?
So what will you write about? How often must you do so? How will you find the ultimate message you must convey? Let’s take those questions one at a time.
When considering your content, the very first place to go is victory. Not your own, your clients and candidates. What do they need to know to win? One of the easiest and best ways to access this knowledge within yourself is simply to pay attention to all the defeats your clients and candidates suffer. Be simple. A defeat is anytime anything happens other than what they wanted, or what would have been best for them. As you note these defeats, you’ll rapidly realize you have very significant knowledge about how to overcome them.
Think of all the times you’ve said to yourself, “If they’d only do what I told them…” At your blog, you can now take advantage of every such thought you’ve ever had, and I promise, people will now begin to listen as they never have before. Why is that? One of the greatest and most powerful reasons is this: when you encounter people, you do so in real time. Live interaction has its own rhythm and pace, and there’s really no changing that. But, that pace is vastly FASTER than most people can absorb or retain. They hear you, and some of what you say sticks. But, anything that they’d actually have to think about – that is, anything that is truly serious – has a vanishingly small chance of being processed in the time available.
This time parameter is one of the main reasons why we complain about meetings and meetings and meetings, but no action. We’re there in the meeting, but we don’t really have the mental chops to absorb all we require, real time, and must invest time afterwards in real processing if anything is going to change in our real comprehension.
Your blog corrects for every one of these challenges. It gives people not only all the time in the world to study what you have to say, it also lets them go over the material again and again if they’re truly serious about learning what you have to teach.
The easy thing, as we’ve considered, is finding simple defeats and educating others as to how to overcome them. A positive message about how to win is a bit more challenging. But, you can find it if you just look. Consider all the people you’ve served who have won, who have made significant change for the better with your help. How did you help them? What did they do for themselves? Search out and find the core principles driving that success and you’ll have a mighty message indeed.
We need to take that point one step further. What is your dream? I know most people kind of seize up when I ask them that. You may, like so many others, just kind of go blank never having really attempted to tie it down or express it. The truth is you do have a dream, but, exactly as your dreams at night evaporate in the morning, it is often very difficult to access your dream. A simple step you can take is just this. Just ask once, twice, three times: how SHOULD things really be? Only think of the smallest, easiest things. Look for the very simplest points of progress you can. If you find three of these, you’ve already got the basis of a dream. You’ll see, they build on each other and if all three of these simple things came true, the world you live and work in would be quite different.
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Let’s assume that you have found a dream. At your blog, you absolutely MUST share your dream! No, you don’t have to call it that. You can use any terms that your audience will relate to. But, as people come to your blog and come to know who you are, they’re going to want to learn what your vision is. They’re going to want to know where you are leading them. Your dream is a kind of contribution that you can be sure they won’t find anywhere else. Your vision for the future is one of the greatest gifts of truth you can give your audience.
How Often Will You Blog?
There is a hard school of blogging that basically demands you post something every day. In my own blog, I do something like that. I post a 700-word essay every morning, four days per week, 39 weeks per year, for a minimum of 156 postings per year. The thing is, I can tell you, that is a huge amount of work. I have my reasons. But, I’m NOT going to recommend that pace for you. If you have the motivation, you’ll find it a life changing practice. So, I’m happy to encourage you to consider such a pace. That said, you absolutely do NOT need to post that much.
When you’re getting started, once per month, or perhaps at most, once per week is absolutely sufficient. If you shoot for the more frequent posting per week, you don’t have to actually do so every single week. But, if you opt for a once per month strategy, then by all means, make your posting EVERY month. That leads us to the real answer. Blogging is not so much about how often, as it is about the consistency of your rhythm.
And that brings us back to your phone work! If you did make the commitment to posting once per week, does your telephone mind instantly see what that gives you for your conversations? It isn’t just an icebreaker either. It is a substantive topic of conversation. And, you’re never dependent upon your prospects having been to your blog before, either. You can always send them an e-mail link and have them simply click on the link right while they’re on the phone with you. In fact, this is a powerful thing to do relative to those people you don’t reach on the phone, directly.
My own practice is that I almost never leave a voice mail message, anymore, without also shooting off an e-mail as well. And, in my e-mails, I of course invite them to check me out at LinkedIn, consider joining my LinkedIn Discussion group, the Recruiting Tactics and Strategy Group, and absolutely to check out my blog, The Recruiting Manifesto.
These multiple avenues of contact leverage every step of your marketing and connection process.
What Is Your Ultimate Message?
We discussed the steps of noting your clients’ and candidates’ defeats, the steps you recommend for their victory, positively, and your dream. Still, the question of your ultimate message requires just one more element for our consideration. That is, your themes. You can think of these as topics, or as positions, even models if you will. Here’s an example of the theme that drives all of my work at my blog:
- Bold Vision
- Relentless Execution
- Penetrating Analysis
- Reinvention, and Repeat
I call that theme “The Cornerstones of Business Excellence.” If you head over to my blog, www.TheRecruitingManifesto.com, you’ll find I’ve written up a series of posts there exploring this theme from just about every angle. But, at a deeper level, if you explore my blog you’ll find that this theme actually informs every single thing I write about. I didn’t find that theme instantly, as soon as I started blogging. But, I rapidly found that I needed a way to think of my work there. And, as soon as I did find this theme, my blogging experience came into clear focus and simply became ever so much easier to do. Without it, I would not be able to keep up my grueling pace.
I repeat, there’s no need for you, as a Diehard Phone Jockey, to set the kind of writing pace I live by. But, at any pace, finding your own theme, where you truly stand, will be a great line in your process. Once you find it, you’ll be hooked!
Where do you get your ROI on the phone from all this work? Pete Rouillard gives us the answer. As you build your blog’s recognition and the strength of your message, people will begin to speak about the things you have to say. In a word, this is called winning. Your blog has a very clear victory or defeat line. You do want people to come, to read and most of all, to speak!
Are you familiar with the old industry term “Power Broker?” I will always associate that term with Bob Marshall and his two great training sessions, Your Desk as a Manufacturing Plant and most especially, The Concept of the Inverted Cones. Those two videos, first recorded back in the late ’80s, were two of the most impactful sources of learning I’ve ever enjoyed. In them, the goal of becoming a Power Broker is mapped out to perfection. Bob teaches us that a Power Broker is the “Go To” guy or gal in an industry. If you want the best talent, you simply have to call this person. Pete Rouillard is not quite as old school as me, and I’m not sure that the term resonates for him the way it does for me. Expert status, or as Pete says, winning the battle to be THE Domain Expert – this is what we have always been searching for.
Winning Power Broker Status
In closing, let me tempt you in this way. Most of today’s Power Brokers did not come up in the New School of highly leveraged, empowering Social Media. To me, that means they’re vulnerable. How so? Whoever wins the war for the most powerful, most beneficial, best blog in any space is the person who has the greatest leg up on winning Domain Expert status in that space. If you’re not a Power Broker yet, and if you look around, find those who are in your space, and discover either that they don’t have a blog, yet, or if they do, if it’s a blog that doesn’t impress you…then you have a shot to step up to the front of the class.
If you do, the rewards, and the return on investment will surely be fantastic. But, do be clear, you don’t have to be shooting for the most powerful spot in your entire industry. You simply have to desire to give your clients and candidates the benefit of your wisdom, your tactical and pragmatic learning, and your best thinking. If you give them that, then your blog will empower your telephone success.
Stay tuned next week for more from the Die-Hard Phone Jockey series…