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The Top 10 Ways NOT to Attract New Clients

By: Robert Middleton

Robert Middleton, of Action Plan Marketing in Palo Alto, Calif., has helped hundreds of professional service businesses attract new clients and get paid what they're worth.

His website is a resource for marketing professional services. Visit it at Action Plan Marketing.

They say marketing has a bad name. But I maintain that NOT marketing has a much worse name. If you're a self-employed professional service business owner interested in attracting new clients, are you still committing any of the 10 deadly sins listed below?

10. Make sure nobody can really understand what business you're in. Use buzz words and industry jargon. Never share the results of what you do or mention how you've helped your clients. Make people really work to figure out how you can help them.

9. Talk only about features and processes in your marketing materials. Don't include any benefits or case studies of successful clients you've worked with. Throw in lots of impressive industry jargon and don't worry about professional design or paper. Using 20# copy paper is fine.

8. Put up a quick-and-dirty website with most of the pages still under construction. Make sure to design it yourself and make it look as amateurish as possible. Of course, obscure navigation, huge graphics files and pages that lead nowhere will keep 'em coming back.

7. Forget about spell check and proofreading. People don't care about typos or if you spell their name wrong. Whip out every e-mail as fast as you possibly can. And never put a signature line on your email, let alone a subject line that means anything.

6. Don't ever network. Make sure nobody ever gets to meet you in person and learn who you are and what you can do for them. And if you do happen to show up at a networking event, make sure to sit in a corner with a beer and lots of hors d'oeuvres, away from pesky prospective clients.

5. Don't write any articles or do any talks demonstrating to the world that you're an expert and really know your stuff. Make sure to keep all of that a big secret. Also never share one bit of your expertise with anyone unless they pay you first.

4. Don't ask questions when meeting with a new prospective client. Just give them a long, detailed presentation on all the technical aspects of your work. If they don't understand you, they probably wouldn't be a good client anyway.

3. Do substandard work as long as you think you can get away with it. Strive for mediocrity and make sure your clients pay for it through the nose. Why should you work so hard when they end up making so much money from your expertise?

2. Don't return phone calls - ever. Just wait for them to call you back. If they really need your assistance, they'll keep trying until they catch you in. And when they do reach you, make sure to sound impatient and too busy to help them.

1. Disappear. One you've completed a project, make sure they never hear from you again. Heck if they really need you, they'll call. But don't make it too easy by ever giving them your business card or putting your name in the yellow pages. You don't want to look like you're begging. Have some dignity, for goodness sake!

© Copyright 2000, Robert Middleton

Other Articles by Robert Middleton

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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