How to Win Clients with Proprietary Research — Thank You Again Henry DeVries

6:41 am Book Publishing, Event Promotion

As we count down the days until the Saturday, Feb. 2 Marketing with a Book and a Speech Summit at Verity Credit Union, here is another useful article from event co-presenter Henry DeVries.   Applications for the 40 coveted seats for this summit are being claimed quickly.  If you want to be “in the house” to benefit, click on the link, submit your application, and hurry before every seat is claimed at the “No Fee, No Selling, No Kidding” live event in Seattle.

How to Win Clients with Proprietary Research

By Henry DeVries

So you want to build a reputation to woo and win clients? Some of the quickest reputation-building routes are to host seminars, give speeches and write articles. But why should potential clients listen to you?

“Clients today are bombarded with articles, speeches and seminars that contain generalities and do not distinguish the author or presenter from any of his or her competent competitors,” says former Harvard Business School professor David Maister. In his highly regarded book Managing The Professional Service Firm (a must-read book for all professionals), he discusses how to demonstrate that you have something to offer that your competitors do not.

The answer, says Maister, is a neglected tool: conducting proprietary research on topics of interest to prospective clients. This can be technical or professional in nature, or it also can be general survey research. You can contact potential clients and ask to interview them for an article or book that you are writing.

Examples are abundant of this type of research from professional service and technology service firms. Consider some of these news articles:

• Cleveland and Nashville are among the ten cities that will be hot for hotel development in the near future, says hotel real estate consultants Laventhal & Horwath
• Clients list “creativity” as the most important criterion when selecting a new agency, according to the fourth annual Thomas L. Harris/Impulse Research public relations survey
• Most San Diego employers say they will generally hold the line when it comes to new hiring in the fourth quarter, according to the latest survey by staffing agency Manpower Inc.

Advantages of proprietary research

By conducting proprietary research, you obtain special information that prospective clients can’t find elsewhere. The foundation of client seduction strategies is to give away useful information that demonstrates to clients you have the expertise to help them. Giving away general problem-solving information is good, but it is not good enough.

The information that a potential client most wants to know is, “how does my company compare to others?” There is a hidden fear in the back of the mind of every executive: are we missing out on something? Nobody wants to be behind the learning curve, especially in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

Maister, who reportedly charges $15,000 per day to counsel professional service firms on how to improve their business, recommends surveying a cross-section of executives in a given industry. Ask them to prioritize trends they worry about most, list tactics that are of the most use to them, and name devices they use. Then you can report rankings of the most threatening issues and most popular tactics. For enhanced credibility, some firms get client industry associations to co-sponsor and help guide the research.


Remember those lectures in science class about the scientific method? Well, it’s time to dust off that knowledge. The scientific method is about observing, forming a theory (or hypothesis) and then experimenting to test the results. Here is a flow chart to help with your proprietary research studies.

1. From your experience and observations, pick the three biggest problems you solve for clients and turn each problem into a research topic

2. Ask yourself: “Will this research be relevant to potential clients and trade journal editors?”

3. Review the literature of books, articles and published studies that relate to your research topic

4. Collect data through opinion surveys, focus groups, depth interviews and analysis of case studies

5. Analyze the data to draw conclusions and make recommendations

6. Write a summary report on the findings of your research (this can be as simple as a report or as elaborate as a book)

7. Use the research information in your seminars, speeches, how-to articles, Web site content and publicity

Professionals, consultants and technology entrepreneurs can use proprietary research to obtain clients, even during tough economic times.

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 Henry DeVries, marketing scientist and ghostwriter, is an expert on typing and talking: how to maximize revenues by writing books and making speeches.  He speaks to thousands of consultants and service professionals each year, teaching them proven tactics that bring them new clients. Along with his best-selling books — How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett, Self-Marketing Secrets, Client Seduction, and Pain Killer Marketing — the buzz building tools of Henry DeVries have been used to dramatically increase revenues and leverage marketing budgets for two decades. In addition to authoring his own books, he ghostwrites at least four books a year.  His goal is to win the Nobel Prize in Marketing. As a ghostwriter and editor for professionals and consultants, he has worked on 43 book projects in the last six years. His proposals have earned five-figure advances for clients. His latest best-selling book, How to Close A Deal Like Warren Buffett, co-authored with Vistage speaker Tom Searcy, was published by McGraw-Hill in November of 2012 and was the #1 sales and marketing book on  He has published with the top five publishers, privately published, independently published and association published, and personally knows the dos and don’ts of all current publishing options. He also has relationships with some of the most respected agents in the business and has launched and supported columns in,, metro daily newspapers and CBS MoneyWatch helping clients to gain credibility, free publicity and larger reach. To apply for a no-cost seat at his private, invitation-only “Marketing With a Book and Speech Summit” on February 2, 2013 in Seattle, please go to


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