“When I started my consulting business, I just expected clients would fall into my lap,” says Michael Port, entrepreneur and author of Book Yourself Solid.

But “I very quickly realized I was not entitled to have all the clients I want,” says Michael.

So what was he missing? Relevancy.

“I realized at one point that marketing is about being relevant,” he says. “Because if you’re relevant, people pay attention to you, and if people pay attention to you, you have the opportunity to build relationships of trust over time.”

And the more trust you build, the higher your revenue. “This is where a lot of people go wrong,” says Michael. “They’re trying to make sales offers that are larger than the amount of trust that
they’ve earned.”

In his Mixergy course, Michael shows you how to become relevant, build trust, and book yourself solid. Here are three highlights from the course.

1. Fire Horrible Bosses

Most people have worked for a horrible boss who drained their energy and made them dread going into work.

“And if you go into your own business, and you start having one client after another that drains your energy, that doesn’t make you feel like your work is worthwhile,” says Michael. “So why would you go get more clients? You wouldn’t.”

So what should you do with bad clients?

Put up a red velvet rope

Serve your ideal customer, and fire the others.

“I call this the red velvet rope policy,” says Michael. “When you start doing this earlier, you generally build your business faster.”

But why fire anyone when you want as many customers as possible? “What you’re doing is you’re creating space,” he says. “It’s very important to…know who is ideal for you and who is not, so you can do everything you can to find those ideal people and make sure that they know you are meant to serve them.”

2. Prove That They’re “The One”

Your client has a problem, but why should they hire you to solve it?

For instance, maybe you build websites. But your clients could build their own WordPress site. Or “they might say, ‘My sister’s kind of good at websites,’” says Michael. Or they could just hire one of your competitors, maybe at a cheaper price.

So how do you prove your worth, and avoid a bidding war?

Make them feel special

Show your clients that you have a tailor-made solution for their problem.

That’s why it’s so important to identify your ideal clients and focus on their specific needs. “Do [clients] want to work with the provider who will work with anybody who has a plausible checkbook?” says Michael. “Or do they want to work with the person who…is dedicated to them?”

For instance, if you build sites specifically for authors, you could offer websites that showcase their books, offer a few chapters for free, and help them build a mailing list.

“Remember to add in what you’ve recognized about them,” he says. “Why you do your best work with them is not just because they happen to be authors and you specialize in working with authors, but because of who they are as people…that they’re special and that you see why they’re special.”

3. Get Emotional

After you show clients that your solution is specifically for them, there’s still something else you have to do before they’ll sign on the line that is dotted.

“I want to know why you do this,” says Michael. “Can I connect with you emotionally around this? Do we connect philosophically? Do we see the world in the same way?”

So how do you answer those questions?

Express yourself

Develop your personal brand identity.

“If you can develop a personal brand identity based on what you stand for, why you get up to do this work,” says Michael, “and if they connect with that, they say, ‘He’s my guy! I love this guy.’”

So how do you build your personal brand?

Start with a tagline. For instance, Michael is known as “the guy to call when you’re tired of thinking small.”

“It resonates with the people that I’m meant to serve,” he says. “And then I realized that…each one of us has that gift that our clients are hiring us for. Not just the technical thing that we do.”

Your tagline doesn’t have to be perfect on the the first try. “You adjust as as you go,” says Michael.

“It doesn’t need to rhyme, it doesn’t even need to be clever,” he says. “It needs to be true. That’s the key because the truth resonates.”

Written by April Dykman.