We already posted about a stupidly simple way to improve your response rates by adding just a word or two to any sales copy. Egoic Labels, you need to check that post!
Well, today I’m going to up the ante and show you how you can transform your ability to win new clients, identify your next business opportunity, or even turn around your life (if that’s what you need to happen right now) using just three words.
Not a word of a lie – I’m going to deliver on every promise I made just there, no smoke and mirrors, just like I did with the ‘egoic label’ concept. So let’s get into it.
Way back in the 1980s I decided to become a Management Consultant on account of the fact that I’d seen a program on TV about a management consultant and I thought it looked like a pretty cool way to make money. And I’d read a copy of Tom Peter’s book, ‘In Search Of Excellence’ which obviously made me super qualified for the role.
So I whipped out my credit card and got myself set up with a swanky blue chalk stripe suit, a silk tie (with, as I recall pink polka dots!), and a Montblanc Meisterstück Fountain Pen – yep, the fat gold-coated one.
In fact, when I looked in the mirror, I looked just like the chap on TV. Cept he had grey hair and wrinkles. An MBA. A track record. Connections, and like Tom Peters, he’d written a best-selling book too.
The next 92 days were hell. I attended dozens of networking events and at every one of them, I had to go through the discomfort of answering the question. “So John, what do you do?”
I tried every different way to explain what I did in the desperate hope that someone would take me seriously when I said, ‘management consultant’.
At best, my efforts were met with undisguised disdain. Worse still were those times when someone ‘sniffed blood’ and toyed with me for sport and amusement in front of their networking buddies. It can be a cruel world my fabulous Facebook friends.
On day 93 everything changed though. I had to make an emergency trip to the dentist and whilst waiting for my turn to see the tooth-snatcher, I picked up a well-thumbed copy of the Readers Digest. Flicking through it, I landed on page 72 where there was an IQ test. Why not I thought, nothing to lose. So I pulled out my Montblanc and took the test.
Just 5 minutes later, I totted up my score only to discover that. I wasn’t anywhere near as smart as I’d thought I was (And I was perhaps even a little dumber than I might have liked to admit).
For a second or two, it was like a wrecking ball had crashed into my ego. But whilst I was still reflecting on the fact that I could just pretend that I’d never taken what was clearly a flawed test (so I could carry on living my life as the borderline genius I believed I was).
I had an ‘aha moment’ that was about to change my life forever. It occurred to me, that whilst I may have been somewhat ‘dumber’ than I thought I was.
Most people were probably not as smart as I’d been imagining they were either. So maybe I should stop trying so hard to impress people and simply embrace my inner dumbness.
That lunchtime, I had the perfect opportunity to test my new theory out at a local networking event. “So John, what do you do”, asked the facilitator of the meeting. All eyes turned to me. My inner voice was begging me to say anything but ‘management consultant’. I stared back at him trying to think of a ‘dumber answer’.
He narrowed his eyes like Lee Van Cleef facing off Clint Eastwood in “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”. And then it happened.
I fired my answer at him ‘Brain for hire’.
‘Which means what exactly’ he shot back.
‘Well,’ I replied slowly, rummaging around inside my brain for an answer to that question myself. And then I opened my mouth and the words just started to flow.
‘It seems to me that everyone in business has problems’, I said. ‘They could be employee problems. Cashflow problems. Marketing problems. Distribution problems, whatever. And what people do is, use common sense to try and solve those problems. Well, I’ve got an alternative form of common sense. And what I say to businesspeople is, tell me what your problem is and I’ll tell you what my common-sense solution would be. And if you prefer my common-sense solution to your common-sense solution then maybe you could hire me to help fix the problem.’
And then something remarkable happened. Instead of the usual disdain and disinterest, this time I received a ripple of applause from the people in the room. And more importantly, by the time I’d walked out of the networking event, I’d picked up 3 new clients.
From that day forward I have never walked out of a networking event without at least one new client, an opportunity to broker a deal for someone else’s services that could solve the problem, or sometimes even a brand new business I could set up to solve that same problem for many others at the same time.
Just by sayin’ ‘brain for hire’ instead of trying to be too clever, or pigeonhole me with a label that everyone else was using, is how at one point I became a very successful restaurant consultant. I started a recruitment business focused on only hiring optimists. And, I became one of the world’s leading experts on creating Unique Selling Propositions. I could go on. And on.
That simply 3 words ‘pattern interrupt’ – brain for hire, and that super simple elevator pitch – revealed here publicly for the first time ever, quite literally changed my life. And that very same 3 words ‘pattern interrupt’ could work for you too.
You just have to find the best places for meeting the right business people. And then wait for them to ask you what you do – which they invariably will. Tons more to say about how to use ‘brain for hire’ positioning irrespective of what you are currently selling.
One of the successful entrepreneurs’ qualities is to keep coming up with the hook, being specific, adjusting the language for the targeted audience, creating a no-brainer offer, and talking human-to-human
Frequently asked questions
where would one find the best places for meeting the right people for this perfect opening?
Here’s my little trick (just between you and me). You want to find places/events where people are buying NOT selling. So, most ‘networking’ events are full of people looking for business themselves – they are in a selling state of mind. But if – for example – you get on the invite list for the launch of the latest Mercedes-Benz at the local dealership you will be mixing and mingling with people who are in a buying state of mind (and obviously have a few bucks!)
My favorite invite is to the launch of a new yacht/boat – why? Because yachts/boats are money pits and these people generally have plenty of money to spend and are used to spending it.