How to Create an Insurmountable Competitive Advantage

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How to Create an Insurmountable Competitive Advantage

Episode Summary

This episode will help you dominate your industry quickly. That’s a bold statement but it is 100% true. Take a few minutes today and listen to the Valtimax Podcast episode titled: “How to Create an Insurmountable Competitive Advantage.”

Transcript

How to Create an Insurmountable Competitive Advantage

Hi, this is Dave Lorenzo and I want to welcome you to another edition of the Valtimax podcast. This episode is all about your body of work. You heard me correctly, we’re going to talk about how you can create a huge competitive advantage in your market based on the body of work that you have developed over the course of your career. I want you to think about this for a moment, I constantly preach that you need to get an understanding for the client’s needs and address the client’s needs first and foremost and you don’t have to ever talk about yourself, talk about your accomplishments, talk about where you went to school, talk about what you do, talk about anything related to you until you make certain that you have addressed the needs of the client upfront and he fully understands the value that you can provide to him to help him either relieve the pain of the situation he’s in or achieve some sort of phenomenally important goal.

First and foremost, those are the two issues that you need to address. When it comes to differentiating yourself from everyone else who does what you do, that’s where your body of work comes in. I’m going to use myself as an example. Today, you’re listening to the Valtimax podcast. This is my podcast. I developed it. This is the 64th episode of the Valtimax podcast, 64 of these episodes. If you go to my website right now, rainmakerlawyer.com, you not only have access to all the episodes of the Valtimax podcast, you’ll also have access to over 800 articles, 800 articles that I’ve written over the past 5 years, 800 articles. In addition, you’ll find links where you can purchase the two books that I’ve written that have been published, that have sold – the first one sold over 20,000 copies each. First one sold over 20,000 copies and it’s still selling very, very well. I don’t know what the exact number is, and the second one was published just a year ago and it’s selling phenomenally well in the lawyer community.

You’ll also have access to the 4-minute fixation, my weekly video series. We’ve only done 4 weeks of the 4-minute fixation but we have over 250 additional videos out there available for you to watch me giving educational advice to lawyers on developing business strategy, practice management, client traction, relationship development or activity improvement, over 250 videos. You can also see me speak at major conferences, just about one a month. I speak at major law firm conferences at least once a month. I do four different event every year where I invite my clients and prospective clients to come see me and other people present and speak, webinars, live Q&As. You have access to all of this information and it can really give you a sense for who I am and just the fact that I put out all this information is phenomenally valuable in helping people vet me and it’s an incredible competitive advantage when people go to compare me to everyone else who does what I do.

If someone’s thinking about working with me and they say to me, “Dave, why should I hire you versus everyone else who does what you do?”, the first thing I say to them is, “Maybe you shouldn’t, because if you’re asking that question, you obviously don’t know what makes me different. Tell me, maybe I haven’t done a good enough job explaining the value that I provide to you based on your scenario and then they tell me again and I tell them how I can address their specific situation, and I say in addition to being able to help you with that, I’ve also published 800 articles. I have over 64 podcasts that you can listen to, over 250 videos online that you can look at to determine whether or not I’m a good fit for you. I can send you dozens and dozens and dozens of testimonial letters. You can also read the 800 articles and you can, if you’d like, read both of the books that I’ve written before you decide to engage me, before you decide if I’m the absolute best person to help you with this law firm marketing challenge, with this business strategy challenge, with this practice management challenge.

All that information is out there. It’s available to you and now, we’re sitting down and we’re having a consultation. You’ve invested $250 for a 15-minute consultation with me and I’ve addressed the questions that you had, I’ve answered them for you and you’re asking me what makes me different. Well, that body of work right there is enough to really help anyone determine whether or not I’m going to be a good fit for them. I would say that’s what makes me different, set aside the fact that I have two Master’s degrees, one from Columbia University and another from a top business school, the Lubin School of Business at Pace University. All that, my body of work combined, is what makes me different.

If you’re a lawyer and you’re out there and somebody says, “What makes you different?”, you need to be able to point to 50 articles on your website. You need to be able to point to the seminars that you do every month. You need to be able to point to the audio program that you created, that you can send to people free of charge. You need to be able to point to, if you’re a litigator, the 25 trials that you’ve done. You need to be able to point to dozens and dozens and dozens of testimonial letters from clients unsolicited, talking about how great you are. All of those things are part of your body of work and when you share that with a client, it makes it obvious that you’re the person they need to work with.

What do you do if you’re just starting out or what do you do if you’ve been practicing for 20 years and you need to create a body of work to be a competitive advantage, to be a differentiating factor for you? Well, I’ll tell you. What you can do, if you’re just starting out, and this is the crux of this session today on the Valtimax podcast, here’s how you can create your body of work if you’re just starting out. Initially set aside 2 hours each week to write an article, 2 hours each week, sit down, write an article. Post that article on your website. Issue that article as a weekly email newsletter to people who are going to refer you cases. If you’re a lawyer, you’re going to write an article on your practice area and you’re going to send that article to other lawyers once a week. Now at the end of the year, you’ll have 52 articles, and that’s a pretty nice body of work. I would contend that would be more articles than probably 60% to 70% of your competition, but you’re not going to start there.

That one article each week, you’re going to write and you’re going to post it on your website. You’re also going to get the names and addresses of editors who are editors for trade publications that are in your area of focus. We’re not going to call it expertise. We’re not going to call it specialty because the bar here in Florida has rules about that. You’re going to send it to editors of publications and trade magazines who are in your area of focus. You’re going to send it via United States Postal Service priority mail, it will cost you $5 and you send it to 10 editors each week. You’re going to spend $50 a week on this. Oh heavens, no. That’s $600 a year. Yes, it is $600 a year but here’s why you’re doing it.

You’re writing this article and you’re posting it on your website every week. You’re having your assistant put it in a priority mail envelope with a tracking stamp on it and it’s going to go to editors of the trade journals. If you’re a maritime attorney, it’s going to the Maritime Trade Journal that everybody reads, going to that editor. If you’re a corporate transaction attorney, it’s going to your local paper to the business editor. It’s going to the local business review monthly for the editor. It’s going to Entrepreneur magazine each month. It’s going to Forbes and it’s going to Fortune. Each week you’re going to send this article out and it’s going to go to those editors.

Eventually, people will call you and have you write a specific article for them that will be published. Every week, you’re sending this out and you’re sending it out with the same cover letter that your assistant can generate. $50 a week it’s going to cost you, not a big deal and you’re going to send it to the editors. You’re going to get, over the course of a year, you send out 52 of these, you’ll have between five and 10 of them published. You’ll have 10 publications. It may not be that exact article. They may want you to rewrite it. They may want you to write an article on a different topic. They may want you to write an article on a totally unrelated topic but they’ll get a sense for your writing style. They’ll get a sense for your depth of knowledge and they’ll get a sense for your ability to give advice in a very concise, methodical way, and they’ll get a sense for your follow up skills because you’ll be sending this every single week.

You’ll get between five and 10 of them published in your first year, so then you’ll have five articles published in magazines, trade journals. You’ll also have 52 articles on your website and you’ll have a body of work that is more substantial than you have now. Even if you had 10 articles and you sent somebody 10 articles, it’s 10 more articles than the next guy sending to a client when he hires them, when he’s looking to hire them. The other thing that you can do is after these 52 articles are put together, you can bind them up and put them in a book and have that book published even if you have to publish the book yourself. There’s a ton of places where lawyers can get published. We don’t have time to go into them all right now. But if you’re a subject matter expert and you write on the same topic every week and you can write 52 articles on the same topic and they’re all 500-word articles, you’ve got 25,000 words. The average non-fiction book is about 60,000 words.

Over the course of a couple of years, you’ll have enough content to put together a real book to have it published by maybe the American Bar Association, but if you want to take 52 articles and have those published in a book, there are a ton of self-publishing resources and self-publishing is not what it used to be. It’s not a vanity type thing. Self-publishing is a phenomenal way to distribute information. You can publish the book on Kindle right now and sell it for $2.99 and people can download it on their Kindles. They can download it on their iPads. It’s a phenomenal resource for you to become a published author. You can do that to add it to your body of work.

The other thing I want you to do is I want you to get speaking engagements. I want you to get as many speaking engagements as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter to me, no matter what your practice is, if you’re a lawyer or a business owner, I want you to speak to any type of groups or associations you can get a speaking engagement in front of in a short term. In a short term, speak to rotary clubs. Speak to chambers of commerce. Speak to – I don’t care, the Ladies Mahjong Club of West LA. It doesn’t matter to me who you speak to and the reason is because I want you to do these speaking engagements and I want you to get permission ahead of time to record yourself speaking and I want you to have those as audio programs that you can post on your website.

If you do one speaking engagement a month and each time you talk, it’s an hour and maybe you take questions from the audience and you record that on your iPhone, you put your iPhone on the podium just like reporters do and even reporters who are on the radio do this, you put your iPhone on the podium and you record yourself speaking, you record the Q&A. You can use more sophisticated equipment if you want, then you use a program like Audacity or any type of audio editor that comes with a PC or with a Mac and you edit it down and make a podcast out of it and you leave it up on your website, you have 10 of those, 12 of those a year if you’re speaking once a month. That adds to your body of work.

By the way, you can easily burn those to a CD and include that in a packet you send to your clients before they hire you. Also, if you can, if you’re speaking at an event and they’re videotaping it, if you’re not getting paid for that speaking engagement, part of what you receive as your compensation is a copy of the video of you speaking on the video and you’re going to have it edited and formatted very inexpensively so that you can have that and you can send that out to people. You’ll also have a great audio. Now it’s very, very easy by the way to do videos once a week, 4-minute videos, do them on an iPhone, do them on a Flip cam. You can do them on more sophisticated equipment, the editing equipment that comes with your iPhone is phenomenal. You can edit your videos right on there if you want. The editing equipment that comes with the Flip cam is phenomenal, so if you want to do four videos a month, you can record them one after the other. It’s 12 minutes of video if you do three, 16 minutes of video if you do four, not a lot of writing, not a lot of preparation time. You stand in front of the camera, you don’t even have to change your shirt and tie if you don’t want to.

Do four videos a month, you bang it all out in an hour. You can have your assistant edit it or if you really want to do it yourself, you can do it yourself and then you can do a video a week very, very easily. This is a no-brainer competitive advantage for you. If you think about it, if you are able to somehow do four videos a month, that’s one a week, that gives you – let’s say take 2 weeks off for Christmas and New Year’s, 2 weeks off, you do 50 videos, one each week and do 50 articles. You’re going to take 2 weeks off too from writing, right? That’s 100, 50 videos, 50 articles and you do one speech a month for 10 months, that’s 10 speeches. You have 10 audio programs on your website, 50 articles, 50 videos.

How much time has it taken you over the course of a year? Each article, let’s say, takes 2 hours to write, that’s 100 hours. Let’s say it takes you an hour a week to do the videos. It’s never going to take you that, an hour, I’d say it’s going to take you an hour a month. That’s what’s going to take you, an hour a month to do the videos, to decide what to write, to record them, to edit it. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say it takes you 2 hours a month. That’s another 24 hours. You can round it up, 25 hours. That’s 125 hours you’ve got invested in marketing right now, 125 hours. The audio programs, they’re speeches. You’re going to give the speeches anyway, but let’s say you do 10 of them and it takes you 4 hours of prep time. The secret to a speech is you give the same speech over and over again so you only have to prep one time for this speech. You just give the same speech over and over again, but let’s say it takes you 10 hours to – let’s say it takes you 4 hours to prepare the speech, times 10, that’s 40 hours. You’ve got 165 hours of total marketing time.

That’s your entire marketing plan for the year, let’s say, 165 hours divided by 52 weeks. You’re talking about 3 hours of marketing time per week to get that great marketing plan together. Let’s say you get a little added bonus and they ask you to write a dozen articles a year. You get hits from those editors. You get to write a dozen articles, they are unique articles so you have to spend another 12 hours writing articles. You can round it up and say 15 if you want. Round it all the way up and say it takes you 3 1/2, 4 hours a week for marketing. You are creating an enormous body of work for yourself that differentiates you from everyone else who does what you do.

After your first year of doing this from a marketing standpoint, you’ve got 50 articles, you’ve got 10 audio programs. You’ve got 50 videos and you’ve got some stuff that you’ve written for trade magazines and all that other stuff. You’ve got a really good body of work here. What you do, what’s the next step? The next step is then to take those audio programs. By the way, you’re continuing to write, in year 2, you’re continuing to do all this but you’re taking the audio programs and you’re having them transcribed. You get a transcriptionist. You can use your court reporter or you can use these very cheap services out there that do a phenomenal job, medical transcription services. You can have the articles transcribed, have the audio – I’m sorry, the audio programs transcribed and what you do is you give them to a college student who is an English major who will copy edit them and take those 1-hour talks and if you’re giving the same talk over and over again, you’ll only have to do this one time. Take that 1-hour talk and break it down into six or seven different articles that are each 500, 600 words.

You take those 4-minute videos and you break them down into 200-word articles. Now you have 50 200-word articles from your videos and you have, let’s say you gave the same speech 10 times so you have another six 600-word articles. You have an additional 56 articles just after year 1, 56 articles plus the 50 articles you wrote. That gives you 106 articles. What you do is everyday, you have your assistant or your marketing person if you hire them or you could do it yourself after hours if you want. You load up a program like Sprout Social or Hootsuite with links to these articles and you blast them out to the social media sites five articles a day. You link to five articles a day from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and then if you want to be more advanced, you do Google+ and you could do Pinterest and some of the other sites, but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are the big four. You blast links from those social media sites back to your website where you link to these articles with 140 character headlines, and then you just rotate through the 100 articles.

If you’re doing five a day, links for five articles – the social media sites, you’re essentially going to run out of content in 20 days. You can just start all over again from number 1 because your audience is growing and changing. You vary the times and these software programs, Hootsuite or a Social Sprout, Sprout Social, I always mix that up, will vary the times for you. They have a queue setup and they’ll vary the times for you, and they’ll send out links on the social media sites at whatever time you want them to, so that you can attract more visitors to your website by generating, by promoting the great content that you have. This is what you do with social media.

The object of social media is to drive traffic to your website but it also creates a phenomenal body of work for you because somebody who finds you via Twitter and sees – let’s say you want referrals from other lawyers and you’re talking about topics that are relevant to people in the practice of law, just in different practice areas than you and they’re on Twitter and they see you’re posting links to five different articles a day. They think you’re creating this new content, you’re not. The content’s up there on your website and they may see the link two or three times over the course of the year but even if they put two and two together and know that you’re sending out links to the same articles over and over again, that’s still 50 more articles than they’ve written. That’s 50 more articles and they’re going to want to refer business to.

Then in year 3 and year 4, you’ve got 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 articles and you have your people loading these up so that you do – like what I do, you’re sending out a tweet with a link every single hour, people see the content that goes out and they just think to themselves, “This is the guy I have to send the case to because he’s got more information. He’s got more knowledge. He’s done more research than anybody else.” Let me break down that social media strategy for you again. You want to write as many articles as you can, and by the way, because of the way search engines are now ranking content, author rank is more important than page rank. You have to write the articles yourself. You have to give the speeches yourself and have them transcribed and you can have somebody edit them into articles if you want. You have to do the videos yourself and then have them transcribed and edited and somebody else can post them, that’s fine, but the content has to come from you because the context of the content is very, very important.

Once you get to 25 or 50 articles online, you load up links to those articles into the social media sites and you do, you’re going to start by doing two a day or four a day and you do five a day eventually and people begin to see the depth of your knowledge on the subject. Every time you write a new article, you put that in a queue. What I do is I create a spreadsheet, with the links on it and the topics and then I write a different headline and post them for the week. If I’m sending out, like on Twitter, I send out 25 links a day, links to my articles. I look at the 25 links and I write the headlines for those articles, the 110 character headlines and then the link goes in there and the hashtag and I load it up and send it out. I load it up once a week. I have my seven times 25, like 210 articles or so, give or take, because sometimes I do 30 a day, so 210 articles, I load them up. It takes me an hour to load up 210 articles, an hour and a half to load up 210 articles in Hootsuite or Social Sprout and I send them out, one an hour and we’re done.

That’s it for the whole week. What you do is you have your assistant then go out and follow people who are relevant to you and those people then, half of them or 10% of them or 20% of them will follow you back and that’s how you grow your audience. That’s how you expand your reach. You can over time, grow your Twitter following and that sort of thing but the point is, you’re building this entire body of work. Let me break this down for you once again. If you’re just starting this now, you’re just starting today, you listen to this podcast and you think to yourself, “I want a body of work like Dave is talking about.” Here’s what you need to do. Write an article a week for the next 52 weeks. In a year, you’ll have 52 articles. Do a video a week, a 4-minute video each week, film it on your iPhone if you have to. Film it on your Android phone, edit it, upload it to YouTube. Your YouTube channel will then have 52 weeks of videos.

You post the video on your blog as well as you post the articles on your blog so you’re doing at least one blog article, one video each and every single week. Write the topics out in advance, 4-minute video, very easy to do, go out, secure 10 to 12 speaking engagements a year, one a month, create a speech. If you’re in intellectual property, create a speech on how business owners can monetize their intellectual property. It’s a 45-minute talk. Practice it over and over again. Go out and give it to every rotary club within driving distance of your audience. Go out and give it to the chamber of commerce. Go out and give it to anybody who will have you speak. Not only will clients come from that but as you deliver the speech more and more, you record it and then you put that audio program on your website. You can change the speech up if you’d like so the content is different each time and what you do then is you take that audio program, you have it transcribed. You have a college student edit it and make it readable, take it from an audio program into readable format and break it up into articles.

Break it up into six or a dozen articles. Now you’ve got 10 audio programs. You’ve got 52 videos, you’ve got 52 articles. What you’re doing then is you’re tweeting and you’re posting to LinkedIn and you’re posting to Facebook links to each of these different articles. If you’ve only got 10 articles, you can only post one link to each article each week. You can’t do more than that, but once you get into the hundreds of articles, you get into the hundreds of videos, you can post multiple links to these articles and video programs, audio programs and you can do it two or three times a month. You can promote the same article three times a month, so if you want to make it really easy, promote your articles on Monday, promote your videos on Tuesday, promote your audio programs on Wednesday and you promote a different article on Thursday, you promote a different audio program on Friday, you promote a different video on Saturday and then you start all over again on Sunday or Monday.

You rotate them through so it doesn’t look like you’re promoting the same thing everyday. That’s the strategy for creating and using a body of work. What you’re looking to do is you’re looking to have a competitive advantage based on education content-centric marketing. That’s what you’re looking to do. I just gave you the recipe for creating a phenomenal body of work that will serve as a huge competitive advantage for you as somebody who is – you’re a person who makes your living based on your intellectual property. You’re a person who makes your living based on your knowledge. This is a phenomenal way for you to create a body of work that will be a clear competitive advantage for you. Think about it this way, the program I outlined for you is 4 hours a week. If you could double that, you can essentially double the amount of content that you put out. You can double the size of your body of work and in 1 year, you’ll have produced more information than any of your competitors.

Think about that. In 1 year, you’ll have produced more information than any of your competitors so when somebody says, “Why should I hire you rather than hire Joe Smith, the lawyer down the street?”, you can say to them, “Maybe you shouldn’t. Take a look at my 200 articles on my website. There’s 200 different pieces of free advice that you can have right there. Take a look at my 200 videos on my website. Again, there’s another pieces of free advice that you can have right there. Take a listen to my 20 talks that I’ve given on topics related to the type of work that you do, and you can determine whether or not I’m the best person for the issue that you’re facing. If after you’ve looked at 200 articles and you’ve watched 200 videos and you’ve listened to 20 audio programs, if after all that, you don’t think I’m the best person to handle your case, then I will probably agree with you and we should part company as friends because I’m not the best. I’ve given you all of that information for free and Joe Smith down the street has none of that.” This is the power of building a body of work and using your body of work as a competitive advantage to help you not only attract more clients but get a fee premium, acquire your clients at a fee premium for the services you provide.

Start right now. Invest the 4 hours this week and every week hereafter. By this time next year, your body of work will dwarf everyone else’s in size and you will be able to say clearly that there is no one out there who’s done more research. There’s no one out there who’s put more time into, there’s no one out there who knows this practice area better than you and you will have the body of work to prove it and you make it very, very difficult for someone to hire anybody else other than you, because the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that you’re the expert.

That will do it for this week’s episode of the Valtimax podcast. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I’d like your feedback and comments on this week’s episode. You can call me at 888-692-5531 or email me at [email protected] Here’s hoping you make a great living and live a great life. Bye bye.

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