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Contents

Foreword

Acknowledgments

Author’s Note

Preface

Module One: Your Foundation

Chapter 1: The Red Velvet Rope Policy

Dump the Duds

What to Do When You Don’t (Yet) Have Clients

Pruning Your Client List

The Old Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

Creating Your Red Velvet Rope Policy

A Perpetual Process

Chapter 2: Why People Buy What You’re Selling

Step 1: Identify Your Target Market

Step 2: Identify the Urgent Needs and Compelling Desires of Your Target Market

Step 3: Determine the Biggest Result Your Clients Get

Step 4: Uncover and Demonstrate the Benefits of Your Investable Opportunities

Relax, Be Playful, and Have Fun!

Clients Want You to Help Them

Chapter 3: Develop a Personal Brand

Branding

Releasing Blocks

You Are Uniquely You

The Three Components of Your Personal Brand

Your Who and Do What Statement

Your Why You Do It Statement

Your Tagline

Roma Non è Stata Construita un Giorno (Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day)

Chapter 4: How to Talk About What You Do

Five-Part Book Yourself Solid Dialogue Formula

Getting into a Book Yourself Solid Dialogue with Ease

Module Two: Building Trust and Credibility

Chapter 5: Who Knows What You Know and Do They Like You?

The Standard Credibility Builders

Standards of Service

Becoming and Establishing Yourself as a Category Authority

Do I Have To?

Where to Begin

Making the Mental Shift

The Power of Likeability

Chapter 6: The Book Yourself Solid Sales Cycle Process

Building Relationships of Trust

Turn Strangers into Friends and Friends into Clients

The Book Yourself Solid Six Keys to Creating Connection: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How

The Book Yourself Solid Sales Cycle Process

The Book Yourself Solid Always-Have-Something-to-Invite-People-to Offer

Use the Book Yourself Solid Sales Cycle to Unconditionally Serve Your Clients

Chapter 7: The Power of Information Products

Brand-Building Products and Easy-to-Follow Programs

Five Steps to Developing Your Product

The Simple Three-Step Product Launch Sequence

Joint Venture Partners And Affiliates

A Necessary Step in Your Business Development

Module Three: Simple Selling and Perfect Pricing

Chapter 8: Perfect Pricing

Don’t Buy Into a Poverty Mindset

Pricing Models

When to Lower Prices, Discount, and Offer Specials

When to Raise Prices

Regulations on Pricing

Chapter 9: Super Simple Selling

Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs

Shifting Your Perspective

Successful Selling Needs the Right Amount of Trust at Just the Right Time

The Secret to the Book Yourself Solid System

The Super Simple Selling System

Book Yourself Solid Four-Part Sales Formula

If They’re Uncertain

Cut the Crap Out of Selling

Module Four: The Book Yourself Solid 7 Core Self-Promotion Strategies

Chapter 10: The Book Yourself Solid Networking Strategy

Networking, Ugh!

Making the Shift to the Book Yourself Solid Way

The Book Yourself Solid 50/50 Networking Rule

Have You Got Any Soul?

Share Who You Know, What You Know, and How You Feel

Networking Opportunities

Networking Events—What to Do

Networking Events—What Not to Do

Online Networking—and Social Media Marketing

You Are Always Networking

So You’ve Got Spinach in Your Teeth

Chapter 11: The Book Yourself Solid Direct Outreach Strategy

Direct Outreach Gone Wrong

You Will Connect More When You’ve Got the Skinny

Only One Link in the Chain of Destiny Can Be Handled at a Time

Socially Successful Conduct

The Book Yourself Solid List of 20

Making Your Case

Direct Outreach Plan

Patience and Persistence Pay Off

Chapter 12: The Book Yourself Solid Referral Strategy

Quick Referral Analysis

Finding Referral Opportunities

Beginning the Referral Process

Chapter 13: The Book Yourself Solid Keep-in-Touch Strategy

Relevant, Interesting, Current, and Valuable Content

Product and Service Offerings

Choosing Your Keep-in-Touch Tools

Automating Your Keep-in-Touch Strategy

Chapter 14: The Book Yourself Solid Speaking Strategy

Self-Promotion

Getting Promoted by Others

Booking Your Way Up

How to Find Your Audiences

Get Booked to Speak

Plan Your Presentation

Deliver Your Message

To Speak or Not to Speak, That Is the Question

Chapter 15: The Book Yourself Solid Writing Strategy

How to Get Out of Writing

The Five-Part Book Yourself Solid Writing Strategy

Help Editors Help You

Chapter 16: The Book Yourself Solid Web Strategy

Part 1: Designing Your Web Site

Purpose and Benefits of Having a Web Site

The Biggest Mistake Most People Make Online

Content and Structure

Web Site Basics

The 10 Most Effective Web Site Home Page Formats for Service Professionals

What to Look For in a Web Designer

Part 2: Getting Visitors to Your Web Site

9 Book Yourself Solid Web Traffic Strategies

The Two Essential Principles of Visitor Conversion

Part 3: Building Your Social Media Platform

Social Media Sites and How to Use Them

Social Media: Pulling It All Together

Final Thoughts

References

How to Reach Michael Port

About the Author

Index

Book Yourself Solid

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This book is a love story disguised as a business book, a love story between you and all the inspiring clients you will serve.

Foreword

Face it—you’d rather be doing your life’s work than filling the sales funnel or getting the word out. Every day that you aren’t on a project is like an airplane seat that goes unsold. You picked up this book because you know that you can do better and grow stronger in your business acumen.

You will get out of this book only what you put into it. Don’t just skim the pages to pick up pointers. Take the time to do each exercise. Take a few weeks to move through this book. Pretend you are in school and striving to be at the top of your class. Because you are. When you look at your calendar next year and you aren’t happy with all the white space, pick this book up and go through it again more slowly.

Readers are leaders, and I believe this is true with you. Read this book as a business owner and think about the suggestions as you build a culture for your company. Who knows how big your enterprise might get? You might be hatching the next Big Blue, and you will need a common set of values to guide your vision into the future.

I resonate with this book’s technology and its spirit. Most of Michael’s advice comes from a point of view that can be summed up in two statements:

Emotionally attractive people win the popularity contests that make up your life. Yes, you have experience, work ethic, and talent. But you still lose the business and see it floating to a competitor, and you know you are better than that competitor. Why? The emotional brain is two dozen times more powerful than the logical brain. The customer wants a great experience, not just good consulting or an effective process. The attention you pay to the emotional experience of working with your customers may be the best way to differentiate yourself and build a contagious brand.

Book Yourself Solid outlines practical ways to improve your ability to produce positive emotions in other people—from how you serve them to how you network with them. Above all, the book gives you advice on building a consistent process in your business. And process is very likable to a customer.

The Law of Reciprocity must be respected to build a sustainable business of any kind. This law postulates that in almost every case people reciprocate, especially when it comes to energy or generosity. If your customers receive added value from you, they will add energy to your relationship. If you give them enough (either intangible or tangible), you will reach a tipping point at which they become loyal to you and start to market you to their sphere of influence.

Conversely, when you create an I-win-you-lose scenario for the customer, your business is cyclical. You get a job, finish it, and return to selling yourself. You have to slug out every business win. This is true even when you are the excellent provider who behaves like the Soup Nazi on the Seinfeld TV show.

Either you build a business that obeys this law or you don’t. There is probably no in-between. Greed is too powerful and faith is too fragile. This book will guide you into a set of practices that always give your customer a reason to give back and wish you the best.

As I finished reading this book, I was reminded of an old saying that should send you deep between the lines as you read it:

Long after people forget what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.

—Tim Sanders

Author of The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams

(Crown Publishing)

Acknowledgments

The first line of the acknowledgments section in virtually every book goes something like this: To list everyone I want to thank for their contributions to this book would be a book in itself. You really don’t know how true that is until you write your own book.

So, to all the people who have shaped this book and have made my life and work as spectacular as it is today . . . thank you.

And, to my son Jake . . . the goodness in you is the fire that fuels me.

Author’s Note

An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man’s entire existence.

—Honoré de Balzac

In early 2000 I was utterly dissatisfied and completely disillusioned with my work as the vice president of programming at an entertainment company. The environment felt like a prison—long hours, unresponsive colleagues, and no personal engagement. Sound familiar? I decided to embark on a new career path as a professional business coach and consultant: a service professional. I secretly passed the time reading, researching, studying, and honing my coaching skills. After much planning, my freedom date was marked on every calendar in my apartment with a huge victorious smiley face. My resignation letter was signed, sealed, and ready for delivery. I could hardly keep my legs from sprinting out the door to follow my heart and head (both of which had checked out long ago).

On that auspicious day, I received the envelope with my bonus inside, ran to the bank, cleared the check, and proudly delivered my letter of resignation. The joy, pride, and satisfaction that I felt at that moment was incredible. I floated home and woke up the next day to plunge into my career as a business owner serving others.

I didn’t bask for long in the glory, however, before I realized I was in for trouble.

Call me crazy, but I really thought clients were just going to fall into my lap. I expected them to meet me, fall in love with me, and trade their money for my services. Instead, I moped about my very costly New York City apartment, panicking, feeling sorry for myself, and doing trivial busy work that wasn’t going to generate a dime of income.

Within six months I was desperate, which heralded a new phase of my life. I was fed up. I’d reached my limit. I was not going to throw in the towel and give up on my career as a business owner. My innate need to support and provide, to serve the people I was meant to serve, kicked into high gear one chilly New York morning. Rather than dwelling on the cold reality of my financial struggle and the bitter temperature outside, I worked every single day for no less than 16 hours to succeed and pay the bills. I poured myself into more resources and studied everything I could get my hands on about how to attract clients, communicate effectively, sell, market, and promote my services. First and foremost, I wanted to learn how to love marketing and selling by turning it into a meaningful spiritual pursuit.

It worked. Within 10 months I was booked solid with more clients than I could handle. But the personal checks I cashed were not the most valuable part of my business. The real heart of what I was creating was the turnkey system that propelled my business and income every month. I started sharing my success secrets with a small group of trusted clients, and I watched their success unfold before my eyes. I could hear confidence, pride, and accomplishment in their voices. Their businesses boomed!

My clients, who were service professionals of all kinds, started to get booked solid: massage therapists, mortgage brokers, accountants, therapists, acupuncturists, dentists, hair salon and spa owners, bookkeepers, web and graphic designers, business consultants, chiropractors, professional organizers, financial planners, virtual assistants, health care providers, insurance brokers, attorneys, personal trainers, travel agents, photographers, physiotherapists, Pilates and yoga instructors, coaches, Realtors, reflexologists, sales professionals, naturopaths, and others were getting more clients than they could handle.

I immediately began to engineer a completely replicable system that I could pass on to you. That system is the Book Yourself Solid system, and you’re holding it in your hands, the same system I’ve been teaching to thousands of other service professionals around the world in my live seminars and Book Yourself Solid Intensive Coaching Programs. The results are powerful.

Over 93 percent of clients who have used the Book Yourself Solid system have increased the number of clients they serve by more than 34 percent and increased their revenue by more than 42 percent within the first year.

And that was before I published the book. When the book released in April of 2006, Book Yourself Solid was the Number 2 best-selling book on Amazon.com. It has since become an evergreen resource for professional service providers all over the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. It’s been translated into Spanish, Vietnamese, Bulgarian, Polish, Bahasa Indonesian, Orthodox Chinese, and Korean. It’s included in curriculums at graduate-level business schools and is touted as recommended reading by professional associations like the National Association of Realtors, which called Book Yourself Solid a “must read.”

The thing about a published book is that once it’s printed, it’s done. Yet, over the years, in my speeches and coaching programs, I’ve changed important parts of the system, fine tuned others, and added new, up-to-date material. Enter the second edition. It keeps the best of the Book Yourself Solid system, clarifies essential parts, and trims the fat, doing away with anything that you don’t absolutely need to know. I’ve even added an entirely new chapter on pricing and another one on the most up-to-date social media marketing. I believe this new edition of the book should make for even easier reading, faster and more effective consumption, and bigger, more impressive, and profitable results.

I’d like to impress upon you right now how realistic it is for you to become a successful self-employed professional. According to Daniel Pink (Free Agent Nation—citing a study by Anne E. Polvika, “Into Contingent and Alternative Employment: By Choice?,” reported in the October 1996 issue of Monthly Labor Review),“Full-time independent contractors earn an average of 15 percent more than their employee counterparts.” Daniel Pink also shows (from a study by Aquent Partners) that, “independent professionals are twice as likely as W-2 workers to have personal incomes above $75,000 per year.” In fact the Aquent Partners study shows that one in four Americans is now an independent professional.

That’s great news, isn’t it? It proves that you’ve made the right choice to go out on your own. But I’d like for us to think even bigger. What if you could do more? Just imagine how different your life would be if you were earning $10,000 each and every month. How about $20,000, $30,000, or $40,000 each month? How about $100,000 each and every month? Amazingly different. I can tell you from personal experience that it opens up a world of possibilities. And you can do it too! Because the Book Yourself Solid system will get you up and out into the world in the biggest and most profitable way.

You need to learn the skills necessary to promote your work and become the go-to person in your field before it’s too late. I don’t want you to start working through this book two years from now. I want you to reap all of the rewards that you deserve now. If you haven’t yet reached the level of success you expected or wanted in your business, there is only one small change you need to make. Put yourself smack-dab in the middle of my Book Yourself Solid system. This one move will get you sprinting (not walking . . . not running . . . but sprinting!) to monthly income and personal satisfaction that will change your business—and your life. Think of all the freedom, abundance, profitability, and joy you can create for yourself.

There is no question that the Book Yourself Solid system can change your business and your life. Of course, it’s up to you whether you’ll take advantage of it.

You love what you do. You’re great at what you do. You stand in the service of others, and you are a remarkable human being for doing so—now it’s time to get booked solid.

I will show you the way to a profitable, meaningful, and absolutely booked-solid business, overflowing with as many clients as your heart desires, clients who energize and inspire you, clients with whom you do your best work, clients who will pay you handsomely.

I hope you feel the same exhilaration in building your independent business as I do every day. I expect that the Book Yourself Solid system will not only inspire you but will keep you keenly focused on learning and relearning, experimenting and honing all that is within you. I am certain the secret to your success isn’t just in the work that we do together. It lies within you. Book Yourself Solid will help facilitate your greatness.

We are all on this path together, learning from one another. We are all seeking joy, love, success, and happiness. I urge you to continue to trust that you are making a huge difference in the lives of your clients, yourself, and society as a whole.

Here’s to you—to focusing on getting as many clients as your heart desires. It is my wish that you come to the Book Yourself Solid system with an open heart and mind. Completely remove, or at least set aside, any preconceived ideas fluttering in your head. Let this powerful process be revealed to you step by step.

The Book Yourself Solid way is one of abundance, joy, and meaning. It’s my deep honor to hold your hand and walk you down this path. I’ve had the pleasure and fortune to serve thousands of other professionals just like you who want to build a service business based on their gifts, talents, and skills. And just like them, you inspire and energize me because you have dedicated your work to serving others. I know your successful breakthrough is near and will continue to be sustained by your faith, inner strength, and confidence.

As any silly, serious, significant, strategic, personal, or professional questions come up, please give me a shout. I’m always delighted to hear from you. Fire off any and all questions to me and my team at questions@michaelport.com. If there is anything I can do to serve you, please just ask.

Now, let’s get to booking you solid!

Think Big,

Michael Port

Preface

The Book Yourself Solid system is supported by both practical and spiritual principles.

From a practical perspective there may be two simple reasons why you don’t serve as many clients as you’d like to today. Either you don’t know what to do to attract and secure more clients or you know what to do but you’re not actually doing it. The Book Yourself Solid system is designed to help you solve both of these problems. I will give you all the information you need to book even more clients than you can handle; I will give you the strategies, techniques, and tips. If you already know what to do but aren’t doing it, I’ll inspire you into action and help you stay accountable so you build the business of your dreams.

From a spiritual perspective I believe that if you have something to say, if you have a message to deliver, and if there are people you want to serve, then there are people in this world whom you are meant to serve. Not kinda, sorta, because they’re in your target market . . . but meant to—that’s the way the universe is set up if you’re in the business of serving others. If you don’t understand this now, you will when you have read this book and begun to follow the Book Yourself Solid way.

The system is organized into four modules:

1. Your Foundation.

2. Building Trust and Credibility.

3. Simple Selling and Perfect Pricing.

4. The Book Yourself Solid 7 Core Self-Promotion Strategies.

We will begin by building a foundation for your service business that is unshakable. If you are truly serious about becoming a super-successful service professional, you must have a steadfast foundation on which to stand. You will then be ready to create and implement a strategy for building trust and credibility. You’ll be considered a credible expert in your field and you’ll start to earn the trust of the people you’d like to serve. You’ll price your offerings in the sweet spot of the customer’s desires and you’ll know how to have sales conversations of the highest integrity that work. Then, and only then, will you execute the seven core self-promotion strategies, thereby creating awareness for the valuable services you offer by using promotional strategies that are based on your talents—strategies that feel authentic and honest.

To help you design a service business overflowing with clients who inspire and energize you, this book includes written exercises and Booked Solid Action Steps that will support you in thinking bigger about your business. Step-by-step I walk you through the actions you need to complete on the path to serving as many clients as your heart desires.

As a reader of Book Yourself Solid, you will want to retain your responses to the written exercises for regular review. I have prepared a complimentary downloadable workbook that includes all of the written exercises and Booked Solid Action Steps contained in this book. Simply visit my web site and download the workbook so that you may begin today to take the necessary steps to get more clients than you can handle.

Go to www.bookyourselfsolid.com/workbook.htm right now and download your free copy of the workbook so you have it in your hands before you turn another page. So, your first Action Step is to get your workbook. Go head . . . I’ll wait. . . .

While you’ll no doubt get great value just from reading this book, the true value—and your success—lies in your decision to take an active role and to participate fully by doing the exercises and taking the Booked Solid Action Steps I’ve outlined. In doing so, you will begin an evolutionary journey of personal and business development that will empower you to achieve the success you know you’re capable of.

If you follow the system, it will work for you. No skipping, jumping, or moving ahead—the Book Yourself Solid 7 Core Self-Promotion Strategies are effectively implemented only after your foundation, credibility-building, pricing, and sales strategies are in place. One of the main reasons that service professionals say they hate marketing and selling is that they’re trying to market without these essential elements, which is like eating an egg before it’s cooked—of course, you’ll hate it. So no matter how compelled you are to skip ahead, I urge you to please follow the system and watch the process unfold.

So many talented and inspired service professionals like you run from marketing and sales because they have come to believe that the marketing and selling process is pushy and self-centered and borders on sleazy. This old-school paradigm is not the Book Yourself Solid way; it is the typical client-snagging mentality. And you must never fall into this way of thinking and being. If you do, you’ll operate in a mentality of scarcity and shame as opposed to one of abundance and integrity.

Ask yourself these questions:

If you keep asking yourself these questions, set a solid foundation for your business, build trust and credibility within your marketplace, learn how to price and sell your offerings, and use the seven core self-promotion strategies, you’ll be booked solid in no time.

Ready to get started? Let’s do it!

Module ONE

Your Foundation

To be booked solid requires that you have a solid foundation. That foundation begins like this:

Over the course of Module One, I’ll step you through the process of building your foundation so that you have a platform on which to stand, a perfectly engineered structure that will support all of your business development and marketing, and—dare I add—personal growth. That’s because being in business for yourself, especially as someone who stands in the service of others, requires constant personal reflection and spiritual growth.

Building your foundation is a bit like putting a puzzle together. We’re going to take it one piece at a time, and when we’re done you’ll have laid the foundation for booking yourself solid.