FS 259: Anthony English on Making a Radical Change in Positioning
On this episode of the Freelancers’ Show panelists Jonathon Stark, Curtis McHale, Philip Morgan, and Reuven Lerner talk to special guest Anthony English. Anthony discusses making a radical change in positioning. Tune in to learn more about this topic!
[00:02:30] Introduction to Anthony
Anthony has an IT background working with mid-range systems. He has recently been transitioning into being a business coach.
[00:03:31] Who do you work with and what kind of advice do you give them?
Anthony works with people who are service professionals and highly technical but not necessarily in IT. They all share similar characteristics. They feel like they can’t sale, hate networking, and do not know how to translate their skills to clients.
The first advice he gives professionals is to stop talking about their technical skills to clients because it only takes seconds to prove to the client that they are expert in their field. The questions they should be focusing on instead are: why does the client care? What problem are you solving for them? Anthony says that professionals are taking customers from point A to point B. The client needs to see how you will get them there.
[00:14:50] How did you move from IT consulting to business coaching?
Anthony still works in IT a little but states that companies do not put money into upgrading them. He was working with big companies and through agents originally, but when he tried to go on his own people companies told him they were used to paying $40 an hour. This rate was outsourced to companies in India and they wanted him to match that price. Anthony was not able to do so. He thought he should learn different skill sets but then he read Jonathan’s tweet about coding being the least valuable part of your existence, which made him decide to go a different route.
Another reason was that he saw that business owners could be in different fields: there was no vertical. In talking to them he found out what their frustrations were quickly. This made him see that he could do that for service professionals and could teach them how to talk to their clients.
[00:17:45] Was there ever an advantage to being Australian? How did that work and change over time?
The size of the companies he works with have millions of dollars invested in outsource companies. He can’t have a conversation with them about that. The companies are frustrated and know it’s not working but they can’t change it.
[00:18:35] Is there an industry norm to use outsourced body shops?
There is an industry norm for the bigger companies such as banks. For smaller companies they could not see the value of doing anything other than keeping lights turned on.
[00:19:15] What was your first sign that your value was now diminished by other alternatives?
When Anthony actually worked in the business, there was a lot of nervousness from people who had been working in the industry for ten to fifteen years. He saw seemingly irreplaceable employees being replaced easily within a week, showing the dispensable nature of people. Also, people were trying to find any new work, even without knowledge of what they were doing. That is when he realized “the writing was on the wall.”
[00:23:00] How do you get clients to trust you?
Building trust happens fast. Anthony is not sure if it is his personality or a skill. LinkedIn has been a successful method with connected with clients for him. He has made it client focused instead of focused on his own skills. He changed his headline from “IT Specialist,” to “Business Coach. I’m going to get you better leads.” He has sent leads with pointed comments about what they are doing well. This has helped people respond very positively to him, wanting to connect.
[00:36:24] Has additional LinkedIn profile views led to more leads and more business?
Anthony’s LinkedIn profile views are up 50%: he has a larger number of people viewing his profile every week. It has given him more leads. It is too early in the process to know whether it has given him more business. He has found new businesses are connecting with him. It has led him to build many relationships.
Anthony makes a point to connect with point to reach out to connections of those people who like his posts. He sends personal comments along with invitations, who almost always respond to him.
[00:39:21] What kind of people use LinkedIn?
A large number of people do not check their profiles. Service professionals mostly use the social media platform.
[00:48:00] Understand Your Clients
Anthony’s advice to professionals is to worry less about tactics. Instead, learn to understand clients and how to sale. That is the Achilles heel for those with a technical audience. Anthony urges professionals to learn how to understand and talk the language of their clients.