Prove You Are an Expert and Win More Clients

Who would you buy from? The person who says he has the experience and knowledge to help you, or the person who proves she has?

The world is awash with advertising. There’s so much of it that we’ve become quite used to tuning it out. We switch channels on TV during the ads or we block banners on the web.

That means it’s getting increasingly difficult to get through to potential clients.

The fact is, it’s simply not enough to make idle boasts without backing up those claims with some kind of proof. Boasting without proof makes clients say “yeah, right” before moving on. That’s the worst kind of response you can get.

On the other hand, if you can back up your claims with proof that you actually have the chops, then you can cut through the clutter.

I think there is a three-step process for doing that.

Decide what you are an expert at

It’s probably not enough to say you are an expert at real estate or insurance or whatever else you do. Lots of people say that. Instead, think hard about what you do that sets you apart from others. If you are in real estate, it might simply be that you are expert at real estate in a particular neighborhood, or you understand the needs of seniors or first-time buyers. By carving out a smaller slice of the world, it’s easier to become the number one expert in that niche.

Share your expertise

It’s one thing to claim you are an expert at, for example, financial planning for boomers. It’s another to prove you are. I think that one of the best ways of offering proof is to share your expertise with others. It puts that proof in black and white, right there on the page or on the screen. So get your knowledge down on paper. Don’t worry if your articles aren’t New York Times standard; just commit what you know to the page. Imagine you are talking with a client; simply write down what you would say. By creating a series of articles or reports or blog posts you are providing proof that you really are the expert you say you are.

Show what you have done for others

The final stage is to show that your expertise works in the real world. To do that, gather case studies or testimonials from happy clients and share them with the world on your website or in print. If you have clients who have done what you said (or used your services) and got a good result , you owe it to yourself and to others to share that.

This is the system I use myself. I decided that I am an expert in using newsletters to build real, long-term relationships with clients (rather than as just another keep-in-touch tool); I share my expertise in this newsletter and on my blog, in articles and videos; and I prove my success with testimonials and case studies on my website.

Now, I realize that all this takes a bit of work. But frankly, the days of money coming in the door automatically are over. It’s those who make the effort who are surviving and thriving.

Article Ideas to Help You Connect with Clients at a Deeper Level

I was talking with a potential client this morning. He’s someone who really “gets” the value of newsletters when you personalize them a little and use them to really connect with clients.

So I got to thinking…what concrete article ideas would be helpful? Here’s a list. (Don’t just read the one from your profession – they all contain great ideas!)

For real estate agents

How I got into the business: Why did you become a real estate agent? Was it because you love houses? Or was it because you have experience from a previous job that you think can make you a great agent (and what was that experience?). Or did you see what other agents were doing and think that you could do better?!

My best real estate experience: Can you tell the story of a transaction that went really well, where you solved a client’s problem and they were super-happy? What about it was so great? Why did it make you so happy?

My worst real estate experience: Try telling (with humor!) a horror story. Maybe you were trying to show a home that had a giant, hungry dog. (Good lesson, there!).

What I am doing when I’m not selling real estate: OK, so you answer the phone at 7pm on a Saturday. But you have a life, right? How about you share it? From golf to baking cupcakes…share your passions with your clients.

What you love about your town: Share your passion for the place where you live. But don’t just write about the usual stuff…share your thoughts from the heart about why you love living where you do. Maybe your passion will spread to your clients!

For insurance professionals

Why I love insurance: Most people think insurance is boring, but I don’t! Why insurance is so important and how it makes lives better…and why I love working in this industry.

What I think about the direct sellers: Why I believe that clients aren’t being served by the direct sellers, and how I (truthfully) can make you happy with my personal service.

How I saved someone’s life with insurance: A true story about how you sold a policy, someone had to claim on it and how they had a great experience (and how it would have been a nightmare without that insurance.)

For mortgage professionals

Why I got into this business: Do you have a genuine desire to help people into new homes? If so, tell your clients about it! Or did you look at the mortgage industry and think that you could be of better service that anyone else? How do you offer better service? Why is it important?

My best closing ever: Tell the story of a client you got financing for, and how they were so happy and how you felt on the day the transaction closed. How has that client’s life changed since?

What you really think about the housing crisis: Lenders have got a lot of bad press recently. Is it justified? Maybe you truly believe that the image of mortgage financing needs to be lifted up because, after all, you provide a really valuable service that makes people’s lives better. Share that!

For accountants

Why I’m not just here at tax time: Tell a story of how you helped a client one October by looking at their P&L or balance sheet and giving them some really get advice that made their business more healthy.

Why you love accounting: A lot of people might think you’re crazy to be an accountant. But you know better! You know how important numbers are to a business…and how understanding the numbers will make a business run better and make that business owner happier.

The secret life of an accountant: So you’re not just the guy with the Excel sheet…you have a life too. How do you fill your weekends? Maybe you’re a secret sky-diver! Share your passions and connect with your clients at a deeper level.

For everyone else

Why I do what I do: Describe what gets you up in the morning. Reveal your hidden passion for your job – and why you think what you do is so important to society.

My best experience in my business: Share a success story. Tell that story from a position of passion. Describe how you helped someone and how happy they were with the results.

My worst nightmare: Tell the honest story of something that went horribly wrong, but how you fixed it in the end. People know you’re not perfect, so tell a story with humor that reveals how you can make things right.

Your duty as a business owner!

By Simon Payn

If you don’t know me well, you might not realize that I am the shy, retiring type.

I would prefer to sit in front of my computer all day rather than go and make presentations to clients…or even go to a party.

I was talking to one of my mentors about this the other week.

I told him that I didn’t want to go speak at seminars, for example – putting myself out there on the stage.

This is what he said to me:

If you believe in what you are doing and if you know that the information you provide will benefit people, then it is your DUTY to go out there and promote it.

That really got me thinking. And right there and then on the phone, I started a rant about how important I believe newsletters are to a business and how I wished that more people would understand this…and that more people would keep in touch with their clients.

I ranted about how many businesses were leaving thousands of dollars on the table – and the owners of those businesses were not getting enough satisfaction from their enterprises – because they were not keeping in touch with clients.

I can tell you, I became quite passionate about it. It was a real rant rant.

Indeed, it was this conversation that kicked off the series of articles I have written about finding your “why” – your motivation for being in business.

So here’s the thing:

If you really believe in what you do, and if you know that people will benefit from hearing your advice and buying your product or service, then it is YOUR DUTY to go out there and tell people about it.

Because if you don’t, you are failing to be as much service to your clients as you could be.

This isn’t about self-promotion, it’s about sharing what you know so that you can help others.

Ways to spread the word

1. Your newsletter, of course! It comes with ready-made content, but you can also edit it to add your own material.

2. Your blog and website. You can use your articles from your newsletter on your website. It’s a waste not to, really!

3. Seminars and talks. Think of it as spreading useful information rather than just as a vehicle for self-promotion.

4. In information booklets that you provide to clients and potential clients. For example, a buyer’s guide that shows them what to look for when they buy a product or a service.

5. In videos. I’ve found video to be a very effective way to connect with clients – it’s a lot more personal than text. I often get comments from clients who have called me after watching the YouTube videos on my websites.

Ikea’s Basement and Your Attitude of Service

Reading business books or getting a business education can seem a bit like browsing through the downstairs part of Ikea.

Your senses are overloaded by all that interesting stuff. So you end up filling your cart with rugs and glasses and can openers – when all you came in for was a Poang chair.
Big shock at the checkout.

In the same way, there are lots of ways to grow your business. But if you fill your cart with all the Twitters and referral strategies and online advertising programs on offer, you’re likely to get confused, choke on the variety and end up doing nothing.

So that’s why it’s important to think about your ‘Why’. If you didn’t read my previous article – What is your ‘why’ – then go back now and do the exercise at the end. It’s super-valuable (I got some great “whys” from some people who took the time to do their homework. These people felt newly energized and excited about their businesses.)

When you know your “why” – the reason you are in business in the first place – it’s much easier to focus on what you need to do to grow your business. You don’t end up with a cartful of junk.

Imagine, for example, that you are a real estate agent. After figuring out your “whys” you came to the conclusion that you believe that home ownership is one of the joys and rights of life today, and that it is your duty as a real estate agent to make sure that as many people as possible can enjoy owning a home, without the stress that can accompany the purchase process.

In this example, the real estate agent has figured out that she is there to serve people (rather than serve herself). She then will work out ways in which she can serve. Which might be:

  • Providing educational material on buying a home.
  • Making sure that her focus is on the client relationship – removing the stress and uncertainties of the home purchase.
  • Finding ways to open up home ownership to as many people as possible by working with financing experts and by finding ways to reach people who are renting a home but could benefit from owning a home.

So, to accomplish all that, she might:

  • Fill her website with useful articles that educate her clients.
  • Send out her newsletter on a regular basis. The newsletter would contain articles that educate her clients and assure them of her attention to their needs.
  • Consider where the main “stress points” are for her clients in a real estate transaction and work out ways to minimize them, either by the retooling her work processes and/or by finding partners who can help. Then she would make sure she communicates all this to her clients – perhaps by providing a “stress-proof guarantee” that shows all the ways she will make her clients’ lives easier.
  • Finding financing experts and asking them to provide articles for her newsletter and website that educate clients about financing options.
  • Using newsletters and social media to reach out to renters and other people who might benefit from owning a home.

You see how she has moved from a self-centered way of marketing herself to one that focuses on the needs of her clients?

And can you see how much more attractive she becomes to her clients now that she has positioned herself like this.

So here’s an exercise for you: How can you better serve people to bring your “why” to life?

What is Your ‘Why’?

Today I’m going to talk about something that will help you grow your business more quickly and – perhaps more importantly – make it easier for you to get up each morning and go to work. 

I’d really like you to do the exercise at the bottom of this article – and put the results in your newsletter. 

Here’s the thing: 

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. 

This isn’t my idea. It belongs to Simon Sinek. You can see him talk about it in his presentation at a TED conference. I urge you to watch the video below (click on the image to go to Youtube to watch it). 

Here’s the thing. 

Lots of people sell insurance. 

Lots of people sell real estate. 

Lots of people sell whatever it is you sell. 

And…there are lots of people who need what you have to offer. 

BUT…to stand out from the crowd and to become the go-to person in your town, you need to do more than match a commodity to people who are looking for a commodity. 

As Sinek says: The goal is not to do business with people who need what you have – the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. 

That’s because our brains are wired to respond to emotions, not logic. 

Your passionate “whys” will slice straight through to the limbic brain, bypassing the rational mind. 

And that’s a good thing, because it destroys the competition. 

So, you might have some logical ideas about why people should buy real estate, insurance or whatever from you. 

But what their brains really respond to are the emotional “whys” behind what you do. 

With that in mind, here are my “whys” – the reasons why I make newsletters. 

When you’ve read them, I want you to think about what your “whys” are – and them write them down and put them in your next newsletter. 

Why I do what I do

By reading our materials and buying our products, I want the following to happen for my clients… 

  • I want to help my clients to become famous in their markets so that when people think of real estate, insurance or whatever it is they do, they think of my client.
  • I want to help my clients build life-long, satisfying relationships with people who know them, like them and trust them.
  • I want my clients to experience what it is like to have people coming to them for business, rather than them having to go out and hunt down business.
  • I want my clients to get pleasure marketing their businesses by sharing their knowledge and experience with others.
  • I want my clients to be secure, knowing that they have a list of people who will want to do business with them.
  • I want my clients to love their work because they will be in a business with long-term, satisfying relationships.

These are the things I want for my clients. 

This is why I do what I do. 

Now…what are your “whys”?

Write them down. Send them to me, if you like. 

And then put them in your next newsletter. 

I promise you will feel better about what you do and your customers will love you for it.

Newsletter Marketer of the Year – Runner Up 3

Personal article from Tom Larsen's newsletter
One thing we always urge clients to do is to use their newsletter to make a personal connection with clients. That's exactly what Tom has done here with what is a very personal story about his daughter, who was planning to join the Peace Corps. It's an emotional story, very well told. What better way to form a bond with your cilents?


Tom Larsen was a runner up in our 2011 Newsletter Marketer of the Year contest.

Tom is a very smart marketer – he really makes the most of the power of his newsletter to build deeper relationships with his clients and bring more business.

Here is his entry.


Describe your business before using newsletters


Tell us about any issues you had about getting clients, making sales or developing your business.


Just an ordinary, local insurance agency, just like the 10s of others in my area.


Describe your business after using newsletters

image from newsletter showing referral awards
Tom uses his newsletter to publicize his referral rewards, in which he gives away some great prizes. And what better way to publicize the prize than by taking a picture of the winner and putting it in the newsletter!

Tell us how your business changed. Did you get more clients? If so, how many? How much extra income did you make? Did they benefit your business in any other way?


Thought of as an expert, someone who they can come to for advice. Totally different.


Describe how you used newsletters to get these benefits


Tell us how you distribute your newsletters, how often, and who to. Tell us anything else we need to know about your newsletter program.


I write three separate newsletters for my top 20% of clients.  Then I use a different version for my COIs (Centers of Influence). Then a 3rd vresion for commercial area Realtors (NYSCAR), a professional organization I belong to.

So I get 3 versions of the 1 newsletter I am getting from you. Thanks!



tom larsen referral namecheck
Tom recognizes people who refer clients to him with a name-check in his newsletters.
offer in Tom Larsen insurance newsletter
It’s always a smart idea to include an offer in your newsletter. Here’s one in Tom’s.
Tom Larsen NYSCAR Newsletter image
Tom makes different versions of his newsletter for different segments of his contact list. Here he includes pictures and information about a charity event the group took part in.
tom larsen small business guide promotion from newsletter
Tom is the co-author of a book of advice for the owners of small businesses. He promotes the book here, adding to his credibility in the eyes of his commercial clients.


image from newsletter showing youtube channel
Tom uses Youtube to market his insurance business, and promotes his Youtube channel in his newsletter.




Newsletter Marketer of the Year – Runner Up 2

image of Sheri Brown's newsletter

Sheri Brown was a runner up in our 2011 Newsletter Marketer of the Year contest.

She makes terrific changes to her newsletter, focusing on bringing in the local community. It shows what you can do with our content if you get really creative.

Here is her entry.


Describe your business before using newsletters


Tell us about any issues you had about getting clients, making sales or developing your business.


I have always used a newsletter, but used a different style, it was from another company more strictly real estate based.

When I started to send out the READY TOGO NEWSLETTERS, I had at least three phone calls within days of the delivery date from clients telling me they loved my newsletter. I finally had to ask one client….”this is the first time your are mentioning my newsletters? Why? I have been sending newsletters to you for about a year now?” My client replied, “To tell you the honest truth, I never read the other Newsletter, it just wasn’t interesting.”

She felt the new newsletter that was in colour and with interesting articles was worth a read, creative and she looked forward to reading it now 🙂


Describe your business after using newsletters


Tell us how your business changed. Did you get more clients? If so, how many? How much extra income did you make? Did they benefit your business in any other way?


Using the amazing stories and adding photos to my newsletter has boosted my business dramatically. In fact, when I mailed this newsletter out it resulted in two re-lists. One has since sold, the other has a pending offer!!

My clients have told me they look forward to receiving my newsletters every month and the interesting articles.

Image of page 2 of Sheri Brown's customer newsletter

I could not stop using the newsletters to go in my marketing! So beneficial!



Describe how you used newsletters to get these benefits


Tell us how you distribute your newsletters, how often, and who to. Tell us anything else we need to know about your newsletter program.


I distribute once a month via mail and mail walks to the areas I farm market.

I have even given space to local charities to advertize their events. The neighbourhood has benefited from learning about what’s happening in their community.

Also I use the email system.




Newsletter Marketer of the Year – Runner Up 1

Congratulations to Phyllis Adam, who was a runner up in our 2011 Newsletter Marketer of the Year contest.

Phyllis got great results with her newsletter and customized it to make it really appropriate for her clients.

Here is her entry.


Describe your business before using newsletters


Tell us about any issues you had about getting clients, making sales or developing your business.

Banner design for Phyllis Adam's real estate newsletter


I have been a Realtor since 1988 and I have never experienced a market like we have had over the past few years. Trying to find new business was becoming extremely difficult and my income was decreasing rapidly because of the economic downturn and especially with all the foreclosures and short sales pulling the market down. I was searching for new, innovative ideas to increase my productivity and taking training courses to learn how to be successful in a tough and very challenging market. Newsletters was one of the ideas I kept hearing over and over again so I began to search the internet for companies that offered preprinted Newsletters that would give me the ability to make changes and to allow me to personalize but were informative and eye-catching.

I’ve learned through various seminars that marketing to you’re your past clients was the key to continued success. Targeting our marketing to our past clients who were satisfied with our services we provided, would be the ones most likely to refer us to their family and friends for all their real estate needs. In searching for that perfect newsletter, I came across Simon Payn’s Ready to Go Newsletters. I tried the free newsletter, personalized it and printed out 200, updated my client database and organized it and sent them out.

That first month getting everything organized took a lot of work and time, but business was extremely slow so it gave me the time I needed to focus on this new campaign, taking our business in a totally different direction. My husband, who works with me as my licensed assistant, helped me put this plan into action.

We’ve been using the Newsletters now since September2010.


Describe your business after using newsletters


Tell us how your business changed. Did you get more clients? If so, how many? How much extra income did you make? Did they benefit your business in any other way?

Putting a competition into your client newsletter increases response rate.

Immediately after sending out the first Newsletter, I had run into a few of my past clients over the course of that first month and the positive feedback I received was very encouraging. I also received phone calls from a few of my past clients asking for real estate assistance. If nothing else, it reminded them that Phyllis & John Adam are still in real estate and we are here to provide service to them and their family and friends.

We finished up 2010 selling almost $5 Million in sales. At one time we were known to sell between $7 – $9 Million in sales but because of the downturn in the economy in 2008 and 2009, our sales substantially dropped as did our income. Our sales in 2009 were $2.5 Million, which made it very difficult to support a household. Already for 20111 we have exceeded our production from last year and feel that we are on track to end up far better than last year’s production in sales.

Sending the Newsletters on a monthly basis has energized our careers and has given us a new focus each month. As soon as I meet a new potential client, whether they are a seller or a buyer, I provide them with a copy of our current Newsletter and ask if I may put them on our Newsletter mailing list. They easily provide us with their mailing address and email. I have changed our method of distributing the Newsletters monthly, which have simplified getting the Newsletters out. It has saved time and money.

I have gotten more positive feedback because I am now sending the bulk of them through email, which most people prefer.


Describe how you used newsletters to get these benefits


Tell us how you distribute your newsletters, how often, and who to. Tell us anything else we need to know about your newsletter program.


After downloading the Newsletter each month, I work on personalizing and adding to the current format. I change things around a bit and always try to include some interesting information about current market conditions, community involvement and instead of the sudoku game, I offer an interaction contest for all my clients to enter and get involved with.

image from Phyllis Adams customer newsletter showing local community events.

My Newsletter recipients must reply to me by email each month after receiving the current issue and asking to be entered in the monthly drawing. It’s that simple. The amount of replies each month have increased substantially, which lets me know that people are reading the Newsletters and have commented that they enjoy them as well as enter the drawings each month. First I started with 10 replies, then 12, then 16. I am now up to 35 to 45 replies each month. It has become really fun and I look forward to getting the next Newsletter out just to see who will win my contest. I put all the names into a basket and my husband draws the winner. It gives me great pleasure to announce the winner and personally deliver their prize in person. We get to catch up on their lives and families and I never leave without reminding them to keep those real estate referrals coming.

As I mentioned, I started out printing anywhere from 100 – 200 Newsletters a month. I have compiled an “A” list and a “B” list, alternating my mailings. I was concerned that not everyone would be receiving the Newsletters each month and sent out a questionnaire about going paperless and starting an email distribution. More than 75% responded accepting the email idea in order to help the environment. I now have 163 names in my email mailing list and I send out about 50 to those who do not have email addresses, or have never responded. So at least I know they are getting something each month.

Once I put my finishing touches on the new monthly Newsletter, I print it out in color, scan in color to a .pdf file and then compose an email with my client list. In the subject, I put something like this: June Newsletter Brought to you by Phyllis & John Adam.

My client list consists of many of my past clients that I have worked with over the years, family members and close friends & neighbors who know we are Realtors. I continue to receive such positive feedback and see the results on a monthly basis.

Like I mentioned before, if nothing else, sending out the Newsletters regularly reminds our past clients that we are here and we do provide an excellent service to all who we work with and serve looking to buy or sell a home. Whether it for themselves or a family member, they can trust that we are truly well trained, educated professionals.

I feel that for the new business we have had this year as a direct result of our Newsletter marketing campaign, it has far out weighed the initial annual cost of the Newsletters. I will definitely sign up again. Thanks again for including such wonderful topics that are always real estate related.

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Congratulations to our Newsletter Marketer of 2011!

Ann and David Kaseman are the winners of our Newsletter Marketer of the Year contest for 2011

Congratulations to David and Ann Kaseman, who have won our Newsletter Marketer of the Year contest for 2011. They win a $500 American Express Gift Card.

Congratulations also to our runners up: Phyllis Adam, Sheri Brown and Tom Larsen. They each win $100 gift certificates.

It was quite hard choosing the winner as we had so many excellent entries. Thank you to everyone who took part.

We will be featuring the runners up entries later, but below is David and Ann’s entry.

David and Ann talk about local businesses and non-profits in their newsletter.

They won because:

  • Use of the newsletter to attain one of their goals – a strong connection to the community (because after all, most businesses are relationship businesses and it pays to have strong personal connections with your market.)
  • Excellent financial results
  • Multiple methods of newsletter distribution, including walking it to their neighborhood (sounds like hard work, but many of our clients have reported similar results by hand-delivering their newsletters.)
  • Modification of content to include coupons, real estate listings, local information and personal, relationship-building content

Here is their entry:

Describe your business before using newsletters

Tell us about any issues you had about getting clients, making sales or developing your business.

I never felt I was making a very strong connection to the community I was focusing on. I certainly was not connecting regularly and consistently. I was not reaching new people nor did I feel this was possible via internet or email. Direct mail was a possibility and I used this but did not feel any impact.

Describe your business after using newsletters

David and Ann Kaseman walk their newsletter to 700 households. Even the walk provides content for their newsletter!


Tell us how your business changed. Did you get more clients? If so, how many? How much extra income did you make? Did they benefit your business in any other way?

David talks about local businesses and non-profits in his newsletter.


With newsletters I know I am tending to my farm area which is 700 households. I hear all the time from my neighbors that they appreciate the letters and that they would use me as their Realtor.

I have picked up two listings in 7 months in the farm area and I have made 2 sales. I see much more business on the horizon.

I use the newsletters at open houses as an introduction to who I am.

I pick up buyers almost weekly from open houses. I know the newsletter helps.

I advertise my listings in the newsletter, so sellers can also experience how their house would be marketed.

The biggest benefit is meeting people as you walk the neighborhood distributing the newsletters. One month I left out my daughter’s joke and a man stopped me to offer his friendly “complaint”.


David and Ann Kaseman walk their newsletter to 700 households. Even the walk provides content for their newsletter!



Describe how you used newsletters to get these benefits

If you’re a real estate agent, it’s always a good idea to add local listings to your newsletter.

Tell us how you distribute your newsletters, how often, and who to. Tell us anything else we need to know about your newsletter program.

Every month, their daughter provides a joke for the newsletter. It’s the most popular part of the newsletter – a client “complained” when one month the joke didn’t appear.

I walk the newsletters to 700 households monthly. I distribute another 100 or so by mail and hand them out at open houses and to for-sale-by-owners. I know I have made impressions on the community when one FSBO listed with me due to seeing my newsletter and me walking them. It was a $465,000 listing.

My broker appreciates what I am doing and she pays for the copies and I use staff in the office to assemble the copy.

Every month, their daughter provides a joke for the newsletter. It's the most popular part of the newsletter - a client "complained" when one month the joke didn't appear.

It is a family affair. My wife walks 1/2 of the route and my daughter helps. Her joke is what many people wait for.

I have also connected to local business owners by including gift certificates and coupons in the newsletter.

Through the newsletter I am able to become a “brand” for I concentrate on what I am about other than real estate. I constantly talk about supporting local businesses and growing your own food and eating out of your garden. This theme is ever expanding. I even take fresh grown herbs to houses other rather than cookies!