“Hey man I am watching your podcast right now – good stuff – ok here is the low down. I have a class C PI license in Florida I let expire but I am going to renew it. I have been doing contract work in Iraq and Afghanistan with Air Force Office of Special Investigations. It is cool spy stuff. I got a letter of commendation for preventing a terror attack- I am going to start a company (P.I. and security).Should I use my fame from stopping a terror attack and receiving a commendation to get business or is that hype? I also have 10 yrs PI work with Global Options and was a Cop. So what is more important to get clients? I am dead serious on doing this come October when I get back into the USA”
Is using fame and accomplishments fluff or can it be used to get new clients for your business?
When I first started my business I went to a new member meeting with other WALI Association members. Every successful investigator in the room seemed to have a story of some event that built some momentum for their business. That gave them a name which reinforced trust and authority in their ability as a private investigator. Linda Montgomery in particular had a good story.
With Linda Montgomery she had one of the cases she worked featured on 60 minutes. I remembered her telling the story but could not remember the exact details of the story. I found some of the story in an article in the Pudget Sound Business Journal. Can you imagine the coverage she publicity received as a result of being seen on 60 minutes?
It allowed her to have credibility and trust in the industry with the work she did on the case that was shown on 60 minutes.
I am a big fan of Linda and when she talks I can assure you I am listening.
Leigh Hearon is another private investigator in Washington. She has worked on some very high profile cases and as a result was featured in televisions show like Unsolved Mysteries and 48 hours just to mention a few. I remembered watching one of those shows and yelling out to my wife that I knew who she was. She has carved out a niche by doing great work and having promoting her accomplishments on her website to reinforce trust with potential client to show them she knows what she is doing.
Ryan doesn’t live in Washington and he wasn’t at the meeting I mentioned but he is another great example of using “Hype” to his advantage. I don’t use the word hype in a negative sense. Ryan was featured on CBS 58 News showing what he did as a private investigator and how he was catching individuals involved in fraud. That news attention is great for a private investigator and reinforces to the public his ability to conduct successful investigations and therefore will instill a certain amount of trust in his abilities.
The Unfair Advantage “Your Story”
The unfair advantage that you have when getting your business started is your accomplishments, your experiences and your resources.
It’s an unfair advantage to anyone else starting a business who doesn’t have what you have. You can leverage your awards to show why you can be trusted to investigations or provide security to your future clients. Not many people get awards for preventing a terrorist attack. Use it to sell yourself and your business. And if for some reason it doesn’t help your businesses then don’t talk about it and don’t promote it.
You have experiences as a private investigator and a police officer. You already have a decent amount of surveillance knowledge working for the investigation company. And you have some knowledge of how the Justice System works as a police officer. This gives you a head start as a private investigator and investigation business owner. This is another unfair advantage that you can leverage on your business website and in your story as to why you are qualified to work on your customer’s behalf.
You have made friends along the way to where you are now. Law enforcement friends and private investigator friends can help answer questions or help you find answers when it comes to running your business or learning about different types of investigative work that maybe you’re are not familiar with. And those private investigation friends will have eventually started their own businesses and may need you in the future to help them on their files.
My unfair advantage when starting a business was being a Veteran, my existing investigation experience through loss prevention and insurance investigations, my reputation and my contacts that were made over the years.
I have maintained a good reputation over the years which has allowed for me to sub-contract for numerous companies and have no problem getting hired on with companies. Having friends in the industry is an incredible asset especially when work is slow.
So my advice to you and anyone else that is reading this is find out what your unfair advantage is and exploit it. If the “Hype” is true then share it with your customers. Building trust with potential customers is the best marketing you can do.
ONE LAST THING
Even though I want you to share your accomplishments with your customers I do it indirectly unless asked about it. You don’t want to come off cocky or full of yourself. I would consider posting it on your business website possibly have someone write it about you.
Something like, “Paul has been involved with investigations over the past 20 years. He spent 10 years learning the craft of surveillance and investigated many insurance claims over those years. He was a Police Officer with the Jones City Police Department and was also an independent contractor detecting terrorist plots in the Middle East. In 2014 he located information that stopped an attack from happening and was given a medal for his efforts….”
Writing in third person shares your accomplishments without sounding braggy.
I hope this helps anyone else wondering about how much they should talk about themselves to their customers.
Thanks again for the question Paul.