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How to position your business and be in demand

Hi it’s Scott from Scott Partners and today we have Tom Poland, Marketing Author of Leadsology. In this interview, we discover the importance of identifying people’s “magic” that is, the transformational aspect in the life or the business of a prospect, positioning and messaging it in such a way that generate leads without hassling people and trying to convince them that they need what you’ve got. 


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SCOTT: Hi, and welcome to the Small Business Heroes show, the show that’s all about and for you, small business heroes. I’m your host, Scott Trevethan from Scott Partners and Go Global Bookkeeping Services. Today it’s my very great pleasure to be talking with Tom Poland.

Tom’s a 59-year-old marketing mentor who started his first business at age 24 and has gone on to start and sell four others, taking them international. In that time, he’s managed chains of over 100 people and an annual revenue of more than $20 million.

These days, Tom’s thing is Leadsology, the science of being in demand, with his blended learning program that gives professional advisors a model for generating a flow of high-quality inbound new client inquiries to their business almost every week of the year.

Tom Poland, welcome to the Small Business Heroes show.

TOM: Thanks, Scott. I know you’re interviewing me, but my first question is, I don’t know what you’re on, but where can I buy some from? You’ve got so much energy. [laughs]

SCOTT: Well, my VA, Honey Mae, tells me to be more animated at this time of the evening, so I need to be more animated.

TOM: It’s good to know that, like all of us, you’ve got a good woman giving you directions.

SCOTT: Oh, absolutely, I have indeed. I’ve got many of them, actually. Tom, tell us a little bit about Leadsology. It sounds fascinating. It sounds like something that every small business really needs.

TOM: It’s a model that I put together after some 37 years of trial and misery and often failing. People relate to this: you buy the courses, you read the books, you go to the programs, you might travel like I do, and you listen to the marketing gurus, and you come back, and you whack it all into place, and exactly nothing changes.

So I think I probably got even angry about that. Some of the peope out there sound confident and they walk tall, and it all sounds good; it’s just, it’s either hype B.S. or it just flat-out doesn’t work. Too many people are more concerned about people buying stuff than they are about delivering the value.

I wanted to create something that – shock, horror! – actually works, that’s authentic, that doesn’t require people to sell their soul or twist their personality out of shape, that people could actually implement not online click funnels, nothing complicated like that – simple stuff that actually generates leads, high quality leads. And they had to be inbound, because virtually none of us like cold calling. There’s a few sick puppies that do.

I don’t want to go to networking meetings. I want people to call my mobile phone, I want people to email me and say “Hey, can we talk about working together?” That to me is real marketing. It’s not selling, it’s not cold calling, it’s not going and hassling people and trying to convince them that they need what you’ve got.

I’ve got a dog, Monty, and I can sum up Leadsology really quickly by saying if I put a steak in front of Monty, I don’t have to convince him to eat it. And that’s what real marketing does.

SCOTT: So it’s all about finding that special source that someone has and then letting the lead know about it? Is that how it works?

TOM: First and foremost it’s about identifying what your magic is. What can you do that’s transformational in the life or the business of a prospect? Without that, without having something that makes a significant and a measurable difference – be it objectively measured in terms of dollars, perhaps, or subjectively measured in terms of “I feel happy and have more peace of mind or more love in my relationship” – regardless of how it’s measured, it’s got to be a measurable difference.

Without that, without that “magic,” as I call it, there’s nothing to market. If people can identify what their magic is, then it’s about positioning that and messaging it in such a way so when the ideal client hears about it or reads it, they email or they write or they phone and they say “Hey, how do you do that? Can you tell me more about that?” That’s typically the two reactions.

That by definition is a lead generator. As soon as someone says “I read this on your website, or someone said you do X, Y, Z; can you tell me more about that?”, then we’ve got a lead generator.

Leadsology also recognizes that the problem for most people is not delivering the value. It’s not the client work they do, because they love doing that and generally they’re very good at it. It’s getting the inquiries coming in.

SCOTT: Traditional marketing is using AdWords or advertising more directly. Is that what we’re talking about here?

TOM: No, it’s not. Quite specifically, it’s not. Leadsology doesn’t use any form of direct advertising. Very often, that’s a really good way to burn a lot of money and to get no result for it, or sometimes actually a negative result because you’ve lost a whole lot of money.

Leadsology, typically it uses what I call educational marketing assets, or EMAs. For example, I have a book out there. It’s called Leadsology: The Science of Being In Demand, and it’s a terrific lead generator for me. It cost me very, very little with print-on-demand these days to actually get the thing selling. I get royalties from it, I get clients from it.

A book, if it’s done correctly, is a really good example of an EMA, of developing an educational marketing asset which gives value to a prospective client. It educates the client in so many different levels, including why they should buy from you. But every time a prospect engages with a person’s brand who’s into Leadsology, that prospect is benefiting from valuable and implementable ideas.

Now, 3% of the people that read my book or attend a webinar or come to a talk, 3% are what I call instinctives, and they just buy immediately. This is true for most businesses, by the way.

85% of the people who engage with one of my educational marketing assets, although they’re my clients – as I said, be that books, webinars, talks, and there’s others as well – will never, ever buy. They’re what I call the wanderers. They just wander around, picking up all the free stuff from people like you, people like me, other people, and they never, ever, ever buy for whatever reason. Doesn’t matter if it’s 20 years; they just keep wandering. The reason I call them wanderers is that they have no fixed purpose. They’re just looking for shiny things.

So there’s 85%. We’ve got 3% are the instinctives, who buy as soon as they’ve read your book or gone to your webinar or whatever. There’s 85% that are the wanderers who never buy. They’re just wandering around.

And there’s 12% that are the explorers, and the explorers need to engage in more than one educational marketing asset. It’s no good them seeing an advertisement on a pay-per-click or seeing an advertisement on a billboard or getting a direct mail piece in the mail saying “Hey, buy now.” They need exposure to your brand in an added value way at multiple points, because they have to explore the different points.

If you only have one thing that you offer, then when they’re finished exploring that and they still feel they need to explore some more, guess what? They go and explore elsewhere.

SCOTT: So they’re no good.

TOM: Well, they’re great, but you’re no good if you’ve only got one educational marketing asset. If there’s only one thing that’s drawing leads into your funnel, it’s just not enough. You’ll get the instinctives, but you’ll lose out on a potential 400% increase in revenue by not catering for the explorers.

SCOTT: Tell me, Tom, who is Leadsology for? What type of businesses would benefit from reading the book? I suppose everyone would benefit from reading the book, but what sort of businesses can really benefit from Leadsology?

TOM: I’ve cut my teeth in small business for the last 21 years, working exclusively professional with SME owners. I can tell you, it’ll benefit every single type of small business on the planet, including some big corporates.

But it’s specifically targeted at those who have a professional advice or service that they offer. I have not targeted it at those with a physical product that they sell – although, yes, they will benefit from it.

Incidentally, there’s a whole bunch of free stuff that people can grab. The book is $10 on Kindle, but there’s a whole bunch of free stuff that they can grab to immerse themselves in the Leadsology philosophy and strategies. For example, there’s a 10-Part Model which they can download and they can get a lot of information from that. It doesn’t cost a cent.

The short answer is, specifically targeted to those who do not have a physical product.

SCOTT: Tom, I know because I’ve done work with you in the past, and I want our small business audience to know as well: you’re not selling a magic formula that’s just quick and easy. There’s work to be done. Is that right?

TOM: Yeah, that’s right. The way I describe it is that it’s actually quite simple; the model itself is simple. Once people see the model and they understand the intricacies of it – and there are quite a few – they go “Ah, yes, of course! That makes perfect sense.” But very often they couldn’t articulate the model prior to actually seeing it.

We start with the foundations. What’s your magic? Who’s the market or ideal client? What’s the message that people need to see or hear in order to want to inquire and know more? What are the mediums through which you get the message about your magic out to the market?

That’s the first 5 parts of the Leadsology model. Answering that, that can take a person 4 to 6 weeks. Once that’s done and the strategic foundations are laid, then the rest of the house has to be build, and that takes some time and it takes some energy and it takes some effort.

But what I find is that most people say “Hey look, so long as it works, I don’t mind.” All of us have wasted time and energy and money on stuff that doesn’t work, so hey, why not do it right this time and actually embed Leadsology so you have that very enjoyable and predictable flow of high-quality new clients coming into the business?

SCOTT: Tom, you have a lot of truisms that you often mention, but one of my favorite ones is that the enemy of strategy is a good idea. I guess that’s illustrated in that point about the wanderers looking around for the next big thing rather than just focusing on what the strategy is and implementing that for sure.

TOM: Yeah. It’s easier to chase a shiny thing than it is to implement a strategy.

SCOTT: I suppose writing a book – I’ve attempted it and I’m halfway through it; maybe I’m one of those wandering type of people – how hard is it to write a book?

TOM: It depends on your personality. I find it easy. If you said to me, “You’ve got to write books for the next 12 months,” I’d be like a pig in mud. “Really? And I don’t have to talk to people?” Because I’m actually a bit of an introvert, believe it or not. That’s why I want your pills. [laughs]

It can be quite difficult, but there’s other options. For example, you can have a book ghostwritten. These days, that can be quite inexpensive. You give someone your ideas, your information, your strategies, how you work with clients, and you get them to put it into a book.

Other people will make a book out of a series of blog posts, or other people will say “I’m going to write a 10,000 word article once a month,” which is quite a big article. And then at the end of the year, you’ll have these 10 articles, or 6 articles after 6 months, you could put into a book.

But the thing with a book is it’s got to be done right. If you just write a book, like I used to do – and I’m on to my third book and it’s a bestseller, which is nice – but the other two were real flops, actually. Because I just thought I’d write a book, and then the world would make a path to my door.

You’ve got to do things like really embed credibility and relatability in the book. One of the ways you can do that is you can tell people what they’ve tried in the past in respect to your services and advice, and why it didn’t work. If you can say to people, “Here’s 14 things that you’ve probably tried in the past, and here’s why it didn’t work,” you gain massive credibility, and it’s very likely in their thinking that the next thing that comes out of your mouth or is on the pages of the books is also very true.

That’s just one out of ten things you can do that you can put into a book that will make a big difference between it just being a book and a book that generates leads.

SCOTT: That’s fantastic advice, Tom. If anyone out there who’s listening, our small business audience, wants to get in contact with you, obviously they can get your book on Amazon or wherever, but how can they get in touch with you?

TOM: Best thing really is to first of all go to and go to the free stuff section there and just have a dive into the free stuff. You can download the model.

There’s a very comprehensive diagnostic assessment which not only diagnoses where you’re at in respect to each of the 10 parts of the Leadsology Lead Generation Model, but it also gives you customized recommendations in a very full 12-page report. You can buy the book on Kindle for $10 bucks; you can buy the paperback for $30, something like that. So there’s a lot of free stuff, and there’s a very small investment if you want to have a look in there.

Dive into it, because really, if you are a coach, a consultant, a trainer, architect, software developer, anyone that’s offering something that’s not a physical product, you’ll gain great benefit on two levels. You can see exactly how I’m doing my lead generation, so you can swipe and deploy that, plus there’s a step-by-step process for you to implement in your own business.

SCOTT: That’s fantastic advice. Tom, thank you so much for joining us today on the Small Business Heroes show. That website address is listed just below the video.

You’ve been listening to Small Business Heroes. I’m your host, Scott Trevethan from Scott Partners and Go Global Bookkeeping Services. Tom, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Until next time, we’ll see you later!

TOM: Thank you so much.

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