So Balloon Boy Was a Hoax??? Two Business Lessons From Balloon Boy

By now it’s pretty clear that the entire escapade we all know as Balloon Boy was just a hoax.  It was likely fabricated in order to feed an attention starved dad who desperately wants to be the next Jon & Kate Plus 8 (How’s that for a goal).  They’ll likely be criminal charges, perhaps some fines and perhaps (although not likely) even a little jail time.  So soon, Balloon Boy will be a distant memory and we’ll all move on to the next Michael Jackson “story of the day.”

BUT WAIT: Is there something to learn here that will help you with your business?  I think so.

1.  Don’t Be Invisible.  Before just a few days ago, I’d never heard of Richard Heene (the father of Balloon Boy).  He was doing what he was doing, appearing on a reality show twice and hyping for a reality show of his own.  However, to me he was completely unknown.  So therein lies the problem.  For most of us our business is essentially invisible, completely unknown to the only person to which it matters:  customers/clients/referral sources.  Our yet-to-be- clients are living their lives, doing what they do, without any understanding about how great we are, how we can solve their problems or improve their lives.  If you want to have an opportunity to serve new clients, and better serve existing clients, you absolutely must master this principle:  Don’t Be Invisible.  As you are thinking about how you will spend your week, take time to think about how you can be visible in the places in which your potential clients spend time.  (You have identified your ideal client haven’t you?) For the only way for you to have a chance at serving people is to be known by them.

So how will you  “Be Visible?”  Here are a few quick tips.

Offline:

  • Public Speaking:  Are you a resource for the numerous service groups who need programs weekly?
  • Guest Writer:  Are you contributing articles to the local paper in either your area of interest or in a currently hot topic?
  • Newsletter:  Are you consistently sending a newsletter to prospects and/or community leaders that is designed to showcase not just your professional qualifications, but also personalized with non-practice focused information?

Online:

  • Social Media:  Do you have a consistent presence in Social Media?  Consider Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Education:  Are you offering either on your website, your blog or some other easily findable location educational information that will help clients/prospects/referral sources “sample” your expertise, your style?
  • Electronic Newsletter:  Are you building a list of interested prospects and communicating with them regularly?

The purpose of all of these are to put you “on the radar” of your prospects, clients and referral sources.  After all, you don’t want to be “invisible.”  Right?

2.         There’s Power in a Story.  The media was in some sense mesmerized by this story.  A young boy, perhaps inadvertently hiding in a balloon, and in danger as the balloon floated away.  What made this story so intriguing?  First, it could have been your son or my son.  We know how boys are.  I connect to the story, because I have kids and can see how something like this could happen.  There’s intrigue.  Will he make it? Will they lose the balloon?  What will happen next?  (Sometimes curiosity will substitute for intrigue.)  Finally, there is a broad appeal to the story.  I suspect many folks remembered the rocket they launched while a kid.  Perhaps they remembered the dreams of flying they held in their youth.  So how does that apply to me if I’m building my law practice?

Remember the power of a story.  No doubt you’ve got one.  Perhaps it comes from your youth or college days.  Perhaps it comes from your service for our country.  Perhaps it comes from your current status:  single mom, father of twins, refugee from Katrina?  When you create your marketing message wrap it in your story.  This will help prospects, clients and referral sources remember you and more quickly relate to you.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our “professional-ness” we forget that we are regular people “first.”  Don’t forget that.

Now I’m not suggesting that you float a balloon or some “made up” story either.  I’m just suggesting that Balloon Boy is a reminder of the Power of a Story.

So how will you apply this in your business beginning today?  Let me know by commenting below.

Till next time,

Dan Scott

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