Review: Book Yourself Solid: Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing and Selling

Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing and Selling by Michael Port

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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This is one of the best sales and marketing books for service professionals that I've read. It walks you through how to define your target market, build credibility, and promote/market in various ways. The written exercises and action steps encourage application. It's logically organized and easy to read.

Topics include personal branding, talking about what you do, selling, networking, direct outreach, referrals, web, speaking, writing, and keeping in touch.

I like Port's non-sleazy approach to sales and marketing. It's clear that he writes from first-hand experience. His philosophy is that "there are people you are meant to serve, and they're out there waiting for you. When you find them, remember to give so much value that you think you've given too much, and then be sure to give more."

He says of the Book Yourself Solid way that "meaningful connection is the key to achieving a greater level of prosperity and personal satisfaction."

I put this book on my list because Goodreads recommended it. Later, I heard Port interviewed on The Freelancers' Show. As the founder of a web design agency, and this book boosted my confidence.

Here are my notes.

The Red Velvet Rope Policy

Regularly dump dud clients (those you dread interacting with). When possible, refer them out. This makes room for ideal clients. Tell them, "I'm not the best person to serve you" or, "I don't think we're a good fit."

Two Components of Your Personal Brand

Your who and do what statement: whom you help and what you help them do. This is about your target market. Example: "I help professional service providers book themselves solid."

Your why you do it statement: the reason you do what you do. This is about the emotional connection you make with people. Example: Reason: help people think bigger. Statement: "I'm the guy to call when you're tired of thinking small."

Book Yourself Solid Dialogue Formula

Long Version

You know how [target market] do, are, or feel [3 biggest problems your target market faces]?
Well, what I do is [how you solve these problems].
The result is [dramatic results you or your clients have achieved].
The benefits are [deepest benefits your clients receive].

My (Chad Warner's) long version

You know how professional service providers often have websites that are outdated and aren’t mobile-friendly, and they have to pay their web company to make changes? What we do is create modern, mobile-friendly sites that they can edit themselves. The result is they have attractive, functional sites and they manage the content. The benefits are more leads or sales through their websites.

Medium Version

You know how [target market] do, are, or feel [3 biggest problems your target market faces]?
Well, what I do is [how you solve these problems] and they benefit because [deepest benefits your clients receive].

Short Version

I help [target market] achieve [deepest benefits your clients receive].

Credibility Builders

At seminars, have your picture taken with well-known professionals in your industry and use these photos and promotional materials. Use photos of you speaking to groups or engaged with clients.

Show testimonials with a specific results and names (and company). Even better are testimonials from highly recognized people.

Show your affiliation with recognized experts.

Six Keys to Creating Connection

  1. Who your target clients are.
  2. What they are looking for.
  3. Where they look for you.
  4. When they look for you.
  5. Why they should choose you.
  6. How you want them to engage with you.

Key 5: Get comfortable saying, "The best thing for you is me!" or at least to be able to say, "You've come to the perfect person. Yes, I can help you. I'm an expert at what I do and this is how I can help."

Always Have Something to Invite People to

Make a no-barrier-to-entry offer to prospects: one with no risk so they can sample your services. Offer a lot of value and don't sell anything. Do in group setting. Example: webinar.

Sales Cycle

  1. Create awareness for services. Choose a simple, measurable objective. Examples: drive prospects to website; build your list.
  2. Demo knowledge and solutions free of cost and risk. Example: white paper; discounted consultation.
  3. Help prospects incorporate info from Stage 2, then offer a low-barrier paid service.
  4. Over-deliver on Stage 3 service, then offer next level of service.
  5. Offer next level of service. Not all clients will reach this level.

Super Simple Selling

  • Ask more questions than you answer.
  • Listen more than you speak.
  • Consider the needs and desires of your potential clients before considering your own.
  • Keep the conversation positive and empowering.
  • After conversing, ask, "Would you like a partner to help you achieve these goals?"

Super Simple Selling Made Even Simpler

  1. Inquire: "What is your goal?"
  2. Show the benefits after they reach the goal.
  3. Offer: "Would you like a partner to help you with that?"

Direct Outreach Strategy

Email is effective when following up after meeting or when referred. But it can be impersonal, it's easy to ignore, and it doesn't make an impression. So, use it together with other methods, such as letters, calls, postcards.

Referral Strategy

  1. Identify your clients' benefits
  2. Identify why others would refer clients to you. Examples: they feel great helping friends improve their businesses; they feel important and knowledgeable; they feel connected when they introduce business professionals; they feel confident that they are valuable resource.
  3. Identify types of referrals. Example: small business owners, executives, colleagues.
  4. Identify places where referrers meet referrals. Example: business lunches, after-work socializing, charity functions.
  5. Tell referrers how to make a referral. Tell them what to say, how to describe you, and specific words and phrases to use.

Ask for referrals in these situations:

  • Client thanks you
  • Client asks for more services
  • Client describes how you helped them
  • Client mentions they're going to an event with your target market

You can create these situations by asking how they feel about your work, or complimenting them on their progress.

Facilitate the referral connection. Don't leave it up to referrer.

Craft a brief email with a short paragraph or two about whom you help and how you help them. (A version of your Book Yourself Solid Dialogue works well). Send this email to each of your clients and any appropriate contacts, requesting that they respond to you with ideas for potential referrals. Then thank them.

Visitor Conversion (on website)

  1. Offer something of value as soon as visitors land on the site, in exchange for email subscription. Put opt-in form in the most obvious place possible, such as above fold on homepage.
  2. Email subscribers to help them consume the valuable item you sent. Best done using autoresponder.
  3. A week or so after they subscribe, offer free gift to qualified prospects. Example: 20 minute consultation.
  4. Offer additional services.

Writing Strategy

In articles, intro paragraph must answer "What's in it for me?"


You can buy the Book Yourself Solid ebook, book, or audiobook on Amazon (aff. link).

What marketing efforts have worked well for you? Leave a comment. Do you need help with your website's marketing, such as building credibility, copywriting, conversion optimization, or email marketing? Contact us to see how we can help.

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