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Robert Skrob: Unpredictable every time

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Image courtesy of tiverylucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

McDonald’s is the leading franchise in the world because of its consistency and predictability.

You can be on the other side of the country or around the world and when you see the Golden Arches, you know exactly what the food will taste like.

There might be an independent restaurant with better food next door, but most people will never know because they’ll choose McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is the safe choice. It became that way through consistency, delivering a similar experience every time. McDonald’s spends millions of dollars a year taste testing individual restaurants to ensure the food tastes the same way in California as it does in New York as it does in England.

All new suppliers are put through a rigorous process to ensure the products they produce conform to McDonald’s exacting specifications. That food is going to be consistent, something Burger King has never figured out.

How do you become the default choice in your info-marketing business? Consistently deliver the answers to your customers’ problems.

There’s a lot of money in consistency. Customers can rely upon you. You become the default choice.

Look at Wikipedia. It has become the default encyclopedia. Is it because Wikipedia offers the most accurate and well-researched information? No, it’s because Wikipedia has an answer for almost every question. It doesn’t have to be the best answer.

In your business, how can you improve the consistency of what you deliver? Sending emails at the same date and time each week, distributing mailings on the same day each month and starting monthly calls on time are a good start.

But doesn’t all that consistency get boring? It can, and that’s why in addition to being consistent, you must also become unpredictable.

Rush Limbaugh indisputably has the most popular radio show in the country. He consistently delivers his show at the same time every weekday. The show starts with a monologue, and it has many of the same segments each time. Yet you never know what Rush is going to say. He’s consistently unpredictable. Many fans tune in just to hear his take on a particular topic.

Consider David Letterman (or another late-night comedian you may enjoy). David’s program is consistent each night. A monologue, a segment seated at his desk, celebrity interviews and a musical guest. Consistent. Yet David keeps it unpredictable with the comedy he delivers, which by definition is something you didn’t expect.

It seems as if the info-marketers who choose to be controversial fail because they aren’t consistent enough. Whatever you do, you’ve got to be consistent about it so customers can rely on you to provide what you promise. Too many info-marketers do or say something controversial once or twice and then move on to something else. Or they are controversial all the time, but they cannot produce valuable content and effective marketing on an ongoing basis.

Consistency is what I’m best at, so that’s what I’ll advise you on. I admit I’m still working on becoming unpredictable.

One of the keys to becoming consistently unpredictable is to develop a curriculum. I just worked with a coaching client who told me it was difficult to write his monthly printed newsletter. He said he stares at the blank screen with its blinking curser wondering what to write about. I suggested he create a curriculum based on Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. The book describes 17 traits of successful people.

Grab one of those 17 traits and create your own story and training that support that idea. Don’t use Hill’s words. Rather, use your own terminology for one of these concepts: pleasing personality, going the extra mile, personal initiative, applied faith, definiteness of purpose or mastermind alliance. Schedule these principles out for the next 12 months. Now you don’t have to start with a blank page; instead, you start with a central theme.

This curriculum serves two purposes. One, it makes you consistent because you can now meet deadlines so your newsletters and written content get delivered in a timely manner. Two, it keeps you unpredictable. You aren’t writing about the same thing each month since you have a different topics around one curriculum.

The larger your business gets, the more people involved in producing that content, and so it will become more important for you to have a curriculum. Large magazines have individual departments or sections. Each section has its own curriculum. You can do the same with your programs. Outline the articles, content and coaching calls you must produce each month. Give yourself a curriculum for the year. In some instances, the coaching call may be the same topic as that month’s newsletter article, so you can reinforce concepts you discussed on the call. In others, you’ll want to change the topic so you can keep it unpredictable.

You can keep your content fresh by incorporating current events and examples into your lessons. While the content will be unpredictable, changing with the news and events of the day, creating a curriculum will give you a huge shortcut to maintaining the consistency your customers actively seek.

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