Chet Bruce of The San Diego Professional Journal which acts as a Consumer Advocate for people who need a Professionals services, is our special guest today.
His recently appointed position as Publisher and Executive Editor has been a part of a natural progression on a career path that has taken him from Internet Service Provider (ISP), to bestselling author of the Amazon Kindle book “The 21st Century Transformation – Your Prospect Has Changed – Are You Talking His Language?”- a book that explains how prospects look for goods and services in the 21st Century.
We are sure this is going to be a great interview, so with that said, let’s listen in to what Chet had to say.
PBI: What’s your official business name and when did you get started?
CHET: The San Diego Professional Journal would be the proper business name.
The Journal is a new venture that started with an idea about a year ago. The Journal is now nearing the point where it will go public as an on line magazine that is a consumer advocate matching consumers with a variety of professional services that are the right match for both parties.
PBI: Why did you decide to go down the road of self-employment?
CHET: I have been self employed most of my life. In my younger days I tried to work within Corporate America. I was a total failure because I could never learn to NOT tell the boss when he was wrong.
After heart surgery in 02, at age 63, I wanted to try working for someone else again but no one would even talk to me once they knew my age except for Merchant Services, you know the people that set up a business to accept credit cards.
It took me less than 2 days to decide these were not the kind of people (or industry) I wanted to be associated with because of my own ethics.
Since I had worked all of my life, I did not want to stop working. Because no one would hire me, I went back to work as self-employed.
PBI: How did you actually get started? Did you start full-time, part-time or build up to it while working a full-time job to tide you over?
CHET: My last business was as an ISP, that’s Internet Service Provider. That was 1995 and the Internet was still very young. That was the days when AOL was sending out cd’s at the rate of about 3 per week to every address in the country. The Internet was a lot harder to get set up on your computer then. The machines were not set up so you had automatic connection. My niche was to go to the users home, set up their machine and teach them how to use the Internet. We ended up having more business than we could handle.
My employees bought the ISP when I went in for surgery.
After my debacle with Merchant Services I knew I had to go back to self-employment. I wanted to do something for those people the Merchant Services people were cheating so I took what I had learned about marketing from the Internet service and produced a series of about 35 videos showing how to negotiate a good MS contract.
In two years, I had over 400 people take the course. However, 99% of them who contacted me were people wanting to go into the business. I did not get a single customer from the video lessons.
Having that many people take the course did show me that marketing on the Net was a viable way to help people.
PBI: How have things developed since business day one? Have you diversified, or have your services remained the same?
CHET: My particular road over the last 10 to 12 years has been one of many, many switch backs and a few dead ends. The one constant thing throughout has been a learning process. Lessons on video marketing, lessons on affiliate marketing and so on and so on.
I finally settled on a piece of the puzzle that has to do with helping Professionals market to their prospects. The one thing I took away from that experience is that, as a group, professionals are bad marketers.
About the time I “Retired” from the ISP, we saw a major change in the way a consumer searched for goods and services they were ready to buy. In my best selling book, “The 21st Century Transformation. Your prospect has changed, are you speaking their language?” I outlined those changes. Most businesses are completely ignoring those changes in their prospects.
At that point I changed hats, so to speak. I took off the black hat of Marketing and replaced it with the white hat of a consumer advocate.
I came to that decision because in the past I had hired a professional from a referral that was totally wrong for me. I know many people that have had similar situations. By not giving the consumer what they need to know in order to choose the right professional, the professional is indirectly harming many of their prospects.
That was the driving idea behind starting the San Diego Professional Journal. The Journal is an on line consumer advocate magazine that publishes articles by and about professionals in 7 fields; Medical, Dental, Chiropractic, Legal, Financial, Real Estate and Health and Beauty.
The Journal will give the consumer what they need to make an educated decision about who to select. The articles will give an insight into the professionals points of view and a “Who Is Page” will answer every question a consumer has about the professional, all without selling.
PBI: What area of your business would you like to see improve within the next 6 months and why?
CHET: Since the Journal is brand new, I am looking to get the various categories of professional fields populated with 8 or 10 articles each.
The job of getting that content is a little tougher because I am focusing on just one city, San Diego.
PBI: How are you improving on that area?
CHET: I am a marketer at heart. I do know that in order to help a consumer I must market to get the professionals involved. I know I need the professionals help in getting this done.
That said, for any professional that agrees to give me an article for the Journal, I am giving an Authority Marketing Package to them for their use. The article in the Journal and this package are the perfect entry point for a professional to gain the authority he or she needs to be chosen as the perfect fit for a prospect.
I am also offering those professionals a giant break in pricing for joining the Journal as a regular contributor.
PBI: What’s your best tip for someone considering starting a business in your industry?
CHET: Not only my industry but whatever industry you decide to work in; Love the work! Be passionate about the work.
The “Gut Check” is to ask yourself in the morning, “Am I doing this to make money or because I enjoy doing it”? If you love what you are doing, the money will come.
There is an old marketing story called “Cheese and Whiskers”. The short version is that a mouse will chew through a wall to get at the cheese but at the first sign of a cat he will disappear.
It is the same with your prospect. They may want your product or service so bad they can taste it, but will turn and run at the first hint of being sold something.
PBI: What’s the most popular misconception that prospective clients have about your industry and what’s the correct answer?
CHET: As soon as you say “Internet”, the immediate thought in almost any business persons mind is “Oh, Oh, here we go again with that First Page of Google crud”.
21st Century Marketing definitely is not about being on the first page of Google. It’s about being the person that helps your prospect solve a problem and being where they are looking when they are looking for help. That is definitely NOT the first page of Google.
The bottom line in the 21st Century Transformation is that they are looking for you in a Google search but not as “Professional in City” but rather by your Name or your business name.
They are not looking for a web site (think about the statement “Everything you see on the Internet is true.”)
They are looking for reviews about you from your patients or clients. They are looking for reviews by impartial third parties and they are looking for some insight into who and what you are and do.
My best advise to any professional is to become a consumer advocate yourself and approach all of your marketing from that standpoint.
PBI: Who is your ideal client?
CHET: My ideal client is a professional that truly wants to help their patients or clients. One that understands that just any professional will not fit with just anybody.
My ideal client wants to be known as the authority in their field and wants their prospect to be a perfect fit for them both.
PBI: If you had a chance to say one thing to a brand new client, before they met you in person, what would it be?
CHET: The one thing I would love to get across to everybody that reads this, not just professionals but any small to extra large company. If you are doing any marketing at all, you are being seen. Now it’s time to take the steps necessary so you may be chosen.
In whatever marketing you are doing, your prospect will see your competition too.
Try this little test; Do a Google search for your profession and your city. Look for the 7 pack. That is the 7 listings on that page that have the little balloons labeled A, B, C etc. and that show on a map next to them. Open each one by right clicking on the name and open in a new tab.
After opening each one and in 10 seconds decide if that is the one you would call. Look for the compelling reason for you to choose one over another. Other than the graphics on the page, is there an obvious difference between them or are they all saying “Me Too”?
Each of your prospects are looking for the solution to a problem. Let them know immediately that you can solve their problem. Stand out from the crowd. Then you will get the call.
PBI: Thank you for a very informative interview Chet.
San Diego Professional Journal