The bikini concept

by Peter Crocker

My last article looked at selling to existing customers with the phrase “I’ve got an idea for you.” But what about using a similarly proactive approach with new prospects?

Recently I was approached by an editor looking for freelance work. But rather than send through a CV or samples, she edited my website with some recommendations on how it could be improved, and even picked up a couple of typos that I hurriedly corrected!

This definitely beats the traditional “Here’s my CV call me if you have any work” approach.

Sean D’Souza, a marketing writer I follow, has described revealing a lot of your best material as “The Bikini Concept” because a little taste makes people interested in finding out the rest. Here’s a link to Sean’s full article.

This idea is not new. It’s really just sampling for professional services. Sampling is a very common tactic when marketing consumer goods. For example:

– iTunes Store lets you hear samples of any song before purchasing

– Paul Kelly puts full songs and videos on MySpace before releasing his album

– Baker’s Delight offer you a taste of choccy scones as soon as you get to the counter

With service-based industries, the way to give people a sample is to give away your expertise freely. This can be done through public speaking, articles, whitepapers, blogging, authoring a book, allowing trial periods or sharing templates, processes or ideas.

Many successful careers and businesses are built on giving away loads of hard-earned knowledge, tips and expertise. You become the expert in the industry and you attract the best clients because they’ve sampled your best work and they want more.

Are you willing to give away your secrets? We’d love to hear what works for your business.

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