There's plenty of philosophers out there. Most of them have “day jobs.” It’s hard to…
When I start to work with a new author, speaker, or thought leader I’m always trying to understand where their opportunities lie. I need to get a deep understanding of their content, need to understand how and where it’s used in the market place, and I need to understand how their clients perceive them.
It isn’t particularly complex, but it works and it works well. What is surprising is that in almost every engagement, my clients tell me how their clients love them. Not every client, and certainly not all the time—but each and every one has a core group of 5 to 10 clients that absolutely adore them. They admire and respect their content, appreciate them as individuals and have a deep respect and understanding of their content and how it impacts their respective organizations.
So here’s the other surprise—most authors, thought leaders, and speakers believe that in order to grow their business (either in its current format or via adding new solutions, offerings, and modalities to their client mix) they need new clients, and lots of them. This is absolutely not true. In fact, most clients that I work with can double their existing revenues without ever adding a new client to the mix. The focus should be on offering additional solutions to your core client base—your most loyal clients, the ones you’ve built up the most equity with over the years. The question then becomes what do clients want?
How you go about finding the answer is actually quite simple: you ask them.
That’s right, it’s not a complicated process at all. Now, you can’t just ring them up out of the blue and ask, nor can you do it without doing some upfront strategic thinking, but once you ask them you will quickly, easily, and inexpensively get the market intelligence you need directly from the market that matters most to you.
That upfront strategic work is imperative as you prepare for the ask. For example, if you’re a keynote speaker and you ask your clients what they need, they’ll only be inclined to answer in the context of needing another speech (which they most likely don’t). You have to paint a picture for your client that shows them very clearly what else you can do with your content. It might be an assessment tool of some sort, a video enabled training system, a consulting process, a coaching model, etc. If you don’t put the pieces together for them, odds are they won’t be staying up late at night figuring out how to spend more money with you.
As a thought leader, the burden is on you to figure out how to best monetize your content in ways that your clients want and will pay for. New customers are great, however, they usually require a significant investment in marketing and acquisition and it takes time for them to trust you and be inclined to spend significant sums with you. Existing clients are where the short to mid term opportunities lie and all you have to do is ask.