I was browsing through my LinkedIn feed, looking for something interesting to read or watch, and I came across a video from Alan Weiss. It was the latest video in his “Writing on the Wall” series.
I enjoy reading Alan’s work. I figured it would be a good way to spend the last 10 minutes of my break.
In the video, Alan explains that he’s fed up with declining social standards.
Take a few minutes to watch the video. Not to procrastinate, but to notice how this video makes you feel, and how you react to it.
He makes arguments like…
- People are not equal because some are much more hardworking than others
- That any restaurants worth going to have a formal dress code
- How he expects people he doesn’t know to explicitly not address him by his first name because that’s what friends do, not strangers
Naturally, my brain started to work through his arguments. I thought about my responses to his arguments.
I agreed with him on some points and disagreed with him on other points. Sometimes very much so.
The video even started to get a slight emotional reaction out of me — until I grasped what was going on.
Alan may be very opinionated — but he’s also a master marketer.
Love him or hate him…that’s the point.
You will either love him or hate him. And whether or not he planned this response or not is beside the point. Alan considers this type of content as one of his secrets to success in Million Dollar Maverick:
I am absolutely convinced—because I’ve done it thousands of times—that simply taking a contrarian or “one-off” view is the secret to success.
Alan wants to work with individuals and organizations who think like himself. They make better clients for him. They are more enjoyable to work with.
And clients who think like him will be attracted to what he really has to say.
It’s one thing to position yourself based on a target vertical, but it’s an entirely different dynamic to produce an emotional response in your marketing.
You Must Get Their Attention First
Marketing is about getting your buyers who have a need to know you, like you, and trust you.
As consultants, naturally, you’re going to focus a lot on number 2 and 3. But how many buyers in your target market actually know you?
It’s easy to forget that a critical part of marketing is drawing attention to your services.
If you don’t get their attention, your marketing fails. They’ll never get a chance to like you and trust you if they don’t know you in the first place.
For consultants, this doesn’t mean you should start investing in ads and commercials. These methods won’t help you generate more qualified leads or add to your expertise.
But when you are sharing your expertise and opinions, you need to share your expertise and opinions in a way that stands out from anywhere else.
Consider these two pieces of copy:
“Your consulting website is very important to your firm. It can be a great way to help increase the visibility for your firm.”
“Your website IS your firm. More of your prospects will see your website than your office. If your website is poorly designed, you’re losing out on potential clients every day.”
You may want to temper your words like with the first headline. But it’s boring. No one will notice. You’re not taking any real position. You’re treading water.
I used to write like that first bit (and sometimes still do) because it was more comfortable for me — even though I actually believed in the second headline.
My business is based on the second headline, yet I was afraid to say it because I was sensitive to disagreement.
Guess what? The people who disagree with you are never going to be your clients in the first place. Why pander to people who will never buy from you?
And the people who do agree with you will make the best leads, the best clients, and the best business relationships.
You owe it to your prospective clients to produce attention-grabbing, contrarian content. You want to help them, but you cannot help them unless you grab their attention first. When you produce content that turns heads, some of your prospective clients will write you off — but these prospects were never going to work with you in the first place.
The prospects who agree with you are nodding their head as they read through your article — a sign that they are buying into your approach, your expertise, and your brand.
That’s the sound of them entering your sales pipeline.
Try the contrarian approach with the next piece of content your produce. Give yourself permission to try it just this once.
If people don’t comment saying that they disagree, it’s not contrarian enough. You’ve failed.
You don’t have to be as polarizing as Alan Weiss, but your piece should evoke either a resounding “Yes” or a “No”, not a “Meh.”
This isn’t easy and takes some courage to publish a piece of content what “goes against the grain.” But try and be authentic. Don’t hold back. Say what you really mean.
When you publish contrarian content, you may face some blowback — from people who would never make clients anyways. Remember that.
And in turn, you will draw attention from your ideal buyers.
What’s a polarizing opinion you have on the industry you serve? What’s something that everyone is doing wrong?
Share it in the comments below.