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Your Value Ladder

While studying digital marketing tactics, I ran across a way to organize products and services that encourages clients to increase their business with you, while paying you to do so. It’s called a Value Ladder, and it’s anchoring my clients’ new marketing and product strategies.  Continue Reading →


Painting Wrestlers

Rob Schamberger, “painting every world champion”

Rob Schamberger, “painting every world champion”

Oh how I love a good niche, and any close follower of my world knows my favorite example:  the man who paints only wrestlers.  I finally met him.

Artist Rob Schamberger, is painting every world champion wrestler.  His work is on permanent display in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum, and his original portraits of WWE Superstars are being auctioned by WWE. 

This pinpoint focus means Rob’s elevator speech takes less than half a floor.  Collectors know quickly if they’re buying or not.  His website is search engine optimized in two tidy key words:  painting and wrestler.

I envy the niche, man.  I envy the niche.   

Homework: Need a little more niche in your market?  Check out this earlier blog post, Niche Down, and find the first time I cited Rob’s focus.



Survey Power


I’m always asking for client’s opinions, but I’ve never received so much helpful information as when I asked about new features I considered adding to my Circle of Trust program.  Ask a specific question, and you’re more likely to get a more specific answer.
Continue Reading →


The Beloved Client Breakup

As your business grows, eventually you find a sweet spot for the clients that fit your every standard for ideal. Meanwhile, you may continue to maintain relationships with clients whose work is no longer in your sweet spot, but for whom you have a soft spot. You care about these humans and have served them for years. They may even have been a critical part of your current success. So you don’t want to coldly walk over their backs. It’s much less obvious when you and your soft spot client are both better served by a client breakup.

Yet in trying to continue to meet the needs of your soft spot client, you get distracted from the ideal clients who are in your best groove. The misfit takes more resources than they can afford, and you can’t afford to absorb the difference between their value expectations and your delivery. It’s only a matter of time before you disappoint one client or the other, or expensively struggle to make everyone happy.

If you really love this client, you have to let her go.

For the most gracious client breakup:

    • Be proactive. Don’t wait till her next order which might leave your client in a lurch looking for a quick alternative.
    • Be personal. Meet your client in person to discuss concerns about being able to continue to meet their expectations.
    • Be direct. Describe how you’re working now, and why it makes serving your client in the way you did before impossible.
    • Be open. Sometimes in trying to break up, you discover that what works better for you is also a good option for your client. (See my post “Yes Your Way Out” for more on this topic!)
    • Be helpful. Suggest alternative respected resources that might be a good fit for your client.
    • Be grateful. Thank your client for being such an important part of your business’ evolution. If genuine, explain that you hope there comes a time when it will be beneficial for you to work together again.

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Review your current client list, marking each with Sweet Spot or Soft Spot. If you are still financially dependent on income from your Soft Spot clients, focus all your marketing efforts on the Sweet Spot. Then systematically replace the Soft Spots.



The Power Biography

I ran across Pat Sullivan’s name in a blog post where he warned that email is helpful until we try to make it do more than communicate one-on-one.  But the more valuable lessons came from reading Pat’s biography at the end of the post.   Continue Reading →