Hey there Rainmaker, here’s a big secret…
I could go up and down teaching you marketing, advertising, selling, copywriting, business building tactics and strategies…
I could give you 7 or 17 ways to get more leads for your business…
To boost your website traffic…
To increase conversions…
To ramp up the lifetime value you’re getting from your current customer base…
To multiply profits…
But here’s what may be a shocking truth to some…
I’ve attracted more business, more clients, more money to myself by WHO I AM than by anything I’ve overtly done to do so.
Yes, I’ve done things to become who I am. But the direct results of those things are relatively minor compared to the total value of the persona I’ve created in the minds of my best target markets.
The “brand” of Roy — as much as my anti-branding self hates it — is what’s MOST valuable in terms of real, take-it-to-the-bank results.
And if you want to enjoy an ever-increasing level of success throughout your life and career, this is something you need to be intentional about creating, too.
You need to be a SOMEBODY. Because being a SOMEBODY will attract money to you.
The alternative is being a NOBODY. Even a highly-skilled, highly-capable, best-intentioned NOBODY.
When you’re a nobody, you struggle.
When you’re a somebody, success comes easier than you could imagine.
This chapter is called “Be SOMEBODY.”
If we’re all in the entertainment business, what does that make you, the face of your company?
In short, you should be a celebrity — an “entertainer.” Not in Hollywood terms. But a celebrity within your niche, and a celebrity to your customers.
You have to be a SOMEBODY.
Dan Kennedy has taught many versions of this hierarchy over the years. It’s his hierarchy of income and power. The further you go up the hierarchy, the more income and power you will have.
Let’s go through each level, starting at the bottom and working our way to the top.
A generalist is someone capable of many things. They’re the proverbial “Jack-of-all-trades.”
It reminds me of a story from Dr. Seuss, The Great Henry McBride. It’s the story of a young dreamer who imagines what all he can be when he grows up.
He starts off imagining himself as a rabbit farmer, who grows the best rabbits in the world. But that’s not enough, of course… He starts to imagine all the other things he can be. A doctor… A cowboy…
And by the end, he imagines the praise…
“The man who does everything! Wow! He’s a whiz! Why, he’s got the very best job that there is! The Seal-Training Doctor! Just look at him ride! The Broadcasting -Rabbit-Man, Two-Gun McBride!”
We may naturally want to be good at everything we do. And we may have many interests. We may want to be a rabbit farmer, a doctor, a cowboy, a radio broadcaster, and a seal-trainer.
But unfortunately, the world seldom works that way. By being good at many things, we miss out on the opportunity to be great — and be seen as being great — at any one thing.
By being the person who can and will do anything, we put ourselves at the bottom of the ladder in terms of income, power, and respect.
Who would call the seal-training doctor, broadcasting rabbit-man, two-gun McBride to do a life-saving surgery? And who would call a surgeon?
One step up from the generalist is the specialist. If you need brain surgery, would you rather have a family doctor or a surgeon? Would you rather have the ER surgeon or the resident brain surgeon?
Whether this judgment is accurate or not, we automatically equate specialization with competence. Solely because someone puts the word “brain” in front of “surgeon,” we’d rather have them perform our brain surgery.
All the more power and credibility are given to the certified, proven specialist. In your field, if you’re able to be credentialed for your specialization, do it.
When I sold IT training, there were plenty of capable Microsoft or Cisco network administrators I spoke with. Some of them had years on the job, proving their credentials. And yet, if they wanted to make a career move, they’d come to us to get the certification to match the job they wanted. Why? Because, in some cases, knowledge didn’t matter if you didn’t have the credentials to match. In others, it was keeping up with or standing out from the field. If you’re a hiring manager and given the choice between two identical candidates, except one had the extra credentials on their resume, who would you choose?
Simply by claiming a specialty, you take a giant leap up in income, power, and respect.
One step above the specialist is the expert. This is someone who is recognized by society, the industry, or their peers as somehow superior to the garden variety specialist.
Credentials are not enough. There has to be the perception that you’re somehow superior.
And here’s the biggest shortcut of all. Get published. Write a book. (Why do you think you’re reading this right now?) Write articles for your industry publications. Speak. Be seen. Be featured.
You don’t have to have superior knowledge to all the other specialists out there to get the status-boost of being the expert. Like it or not, that’s the way the world works. You simply have to do things that experts do. And that primarily comes from the media in which you appear.
Is Dr. Phil a better psychologist than others who are less well known? Absolutely not. He’s arguably worse, in many ways. Further, he’s not even a licensed psychologist anymore — he retired his license in 2006. And yet he has a higher income, more power, and garners more respect from society than more “serious” psychologists.
Why? Because, for whatever reason, we respect celebrity. Why is it that celebrities are so commonly used in marketing endorsements, even when they have no credibility on the product’s benefits? Because we give an unwarranted level of adoration and trust to celebrity.
(This is one of the most-hated truths in this book.)
Celebrities are given outlandish levels of income, power, and respect solely on the basis of their celebrity. Take a look at the seemingly incompetent musicians, actors, and professional celebrities who continue to excel in life simply on the basis of being a celebrity.
It’s not “fair” — but it is a fact. The power of celebrity — whether your own celebrity, or someone else’s that’s been bought or rented — can increase your income, power, and respect.
This is at the top of the hierarchy. It is what you should aspire to — and what you can achieve.
If you want to maximize your business success, it pays to be both expert and celebrity to your market. Provide the level of value that a specialist or expert can provide. But position yourself as a larger than life celebrity.
Take cues from other celebrities in our culture. Be public in your business persona. But avoid the Hollywood trap of making the personal into the public.
To be a celebrity-expert, follow my advice above for becoming a recognized expert. Publish. Speak. Be seen in media. But go beyond that. Create a character for yourself. Be bold. Have opinions on your industry, and make them public.
Do the things the people in your market wish they could do.
Say the things the people in your market wish they could say.
Be the person the people in your market wish they could be.
I’ve rappelled down the side of a skyscraper to raise money for the Special Olympics. I’ve gone skydiving. I also quit my job and started my own business. I’ve created a career that lets me be present for my family, while also enjoying substantial success.
I also have ADHD, and have been public in the ups and downs of dealing with it.
I’m also unabashedly against marketing and advertising that’s not designed to get business results. I’m more than happy to call out bad advertising when I see it.
I’m also supportive, and relatively kind in my firmness. More like a parent that has your best interests at heart. Certainly not a Scrooge.
All of these things are appealing to the market I want to attract. The nuances of my “Celebrity” character are me. But certain things are highlighted to make me more interesting to my audience.
If you want to be a celebrity-expert to your market — and enjoy greater income, power, and respect as a result — you have to do the same thing.
Find out what makes you interesting, and accentuate it. Accentuate it one-on-one. Accentuate it when you speak and write. Accentuate it when you present yourself in the media, and in public.
Research and dig into character crafting. Watch how celebrities do it. And adapt it to yourself and your business persona.
This applies to your business, too.
This chapter seems very person-oriented. Not so much about your business. That’s true. However, it pays to think broader than that.
It’s not just YOU that can be the face of your business. There are many ways you can use the powers of “Expert” and “Celebrity” to your business’ advantage, without stepping into the spotlight.
For one, many celebrities are “for rent.” Paid endorsements are quick and easy ways to attach celebrity to your business. And think beyond Hollywood. Sports stars — both professional and semi-pro, current and retired. Public figures. Authors. Other celebrity-experts within your niche. If you’re local, choose a local celebrity. If you’re national, think national — but it doesn’t have to be today’s hottest A-lister. There are lots of folks who are not on the main stage today, who can still infuse a ton of celebrity power into your business.
Also, many experts are “for rent” as well. Most of the publishers I work with today tap industry experts for editorial. They bring them on board. And they use the media they have created and own to turn them into industry celebrities as well. The IT training company I worked for found teachers who were already respected experts in the field, and hired them to do video training.
The Strategy of Attachment: Who you’re with is who you are.
If you want instant benefit from the powers of expert and celebrity… AND if you want to accelerate your path towards becoming a recognized celebrity-expert… This is one of the most powerful strategies you can use.
It’s the Strategy of Attachment. In short, it can be explained by saying, “Who you’re with is who you are.”
A client of mine with a very conservative audience base once showed me a picture of himself with Ronald Reagan. Further, he actually had a signed letter from Reagan thanking him for work on a specific project. I flipped my lid — telling him this picture and the letter should be front-and-center in his marketing. Simply by being “with” Reagan, decades ago, he could instantly up his own conservative celebrity and expert status today.
I’ve done this myself. I’ve conducted public interviews with a large number of business and marketing experts. Both “gurus” and in-the-trenches marketers who have built highly-successful business. There’s also a reason behind all the unabashed name-dropping in this book, beyond the very real motivation of giving credit where credit is due. These things associate me with these other respected marketers in your mind. I borrow their credibility, celebrity, and expertise.
You can do the very same thing.
The absolute easiest way is to record interviews between yourself and the “Who’s Who” of your market. Studies have found that the interviewer is actually seen as being more intelligent than the interviewee in the viewer or listener’s mind. Again, whether that’s an accurate assessment or not isn’t the question we’re seeking to answer here. The fact is, when you interview a celebrity or an expert, you’re instantly given status as a result.
You can also gain from speaking at the same event as the celebrity-experts. (Or even better, hiring them to come speak at YOUR event.) Also, from having your articles appear alongside theirs in trade publications. By getting them to contribute a chapter or an essay to your book. Or you to theirs. By showing up as a testimonial on their website, or better, having their testimonial on yours.
There are a thousand ways you can attach yourself to celebrities and experts — your imagination is the only real limit. Once you’ve done so, use the attachment to your advantage. Certainly don’t abuse it. But use it wherever it’s appropriate. Integrate it into your own image — to build your status as a celebrity-expert in your marketplace.
One last thought: you must be public.
If you’re scared to speak, or scared to write, or scared to have too public of a persona, I understand.
I’m an introvert by nature. A wallflower at parties. I get recharged by being alone, NOT when I’m surrounded by people.
I get nervous before giving a speech. I think all my writing sucks in the moments before I share it or send it out.
But if you want to take full advantage of the principles in this chapter, you have to learn to feel these fears, and then take action anyway.
Johnny Carson famously didn’t go a week of his celebrity life without vomiting at least once before going on stage. He did it, then he stepped out into the spotlight anyway.
The fear, the nervousness, the self-judging — they’ll never go away.
The doubts and insecurity will always remain — even after you’ve experienced enormous success. They may even intensify — the impostor syndrome is very, very real.
The rewards of being public certainly do come with downsides. For some, these pressures are too much. Child actors are famously wretched adults.
However, in business, the pressures are far less. Yes, you’ll still have to face the fear of “performing” in public when you give a speech or presentation. But the level of scrutiny on business leaders is almost always far less than that of traditional celebrities.
And you can lessen the internal pressures further by separating yourself from your public persona. The public, celebrity-expert “you” should not be fake. But it also is NOT the whole you. It’s the public you that you’ve created. When you hold this distinction in your mind, you don’t have to be attached to the criticism you will inevitably receive. (And frankly, you shouldn’t be, because most criticism is about the critic anyway.) You are creating an act, a character. Some people will like the act, some won’t. Cater to those who do. Entertain your True Fans.
And what’s the alternative? By being in business you ARE creating a public image of yourself, like it or not. You have a choice of what that image can be. And you have a chance to maximize the results it generates, and the benefit you can derive from it.
This is part of the book I’m writing while you watch, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets. Past chapters are available on the website.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets