You can make more money as a private investigator when you have a marketing plan and this week I’m sharing with you three almost unfair advantages you can have when marketing your private investigator business or process serving business.
The Fundamental Principle
Offer something your clients want and are willing to pay for.
Even before I give you the list of 3 advantages, you have to offer your clients something they want and are willing to pay for.
You may be tempted to offer something unique, fun or clever for getting clients, only to find out that it’s not anything they’re even vaguely interested!
It’s pointless to differentiate yourself if the client doesn’t have any particular interest in that difference.
I’m not talking about “branding” here. Sure, you may have a unique company look, the way your website is built or your social media. And there’s nothing wrong with having a brand “look”, but here I’m saying people have to know, like and trust you. You can differentiate yourself that way.
1. Offer something your competition hasn’t thought to offer.
The first unfair advantage is offering your potential clients something your competition hasn’t yet thought to offer them.
A good example here is to say things like…
“With my services you get a free written report.”
“There’s no extra charge for video.”
“You can get a follow up summary within twenty-four hours via phone.”
“We’ll communicate with you via text message.”
These are things any private investigator can do, but maybe hasn’t thought to offer.
These are things your competition may do (a lot of detective agencies do), but they aren’t telling their potential clients about it!
Heck, In some places (including my state) you’re required to give a written report if the client wants it so why not offer it in your sales material? If you’re competition’s not pointing that out, this can give you an unfair advantage when a potential client is shopping around.
The other agency lists all the things they do, (EG. surveillance, background checks, skip tracing), but it’s just a list of services.
When they come to you, they find, yes, you offer the exact same services, but you include a free written report. There’s no extra costs for the video. You can give them text message updates. Those are the types of things your competition hasn’t thought to offer.
Of course, the weak part of this competitive advantage is that your competition can quickly figure this out and offer it as well. It’s not something that’s going to keep you ahead in the long term, but it is an unfair advantage you can have right now.
2. Offer something your competition is unwilling to offer.
The second unfair advantage you’re going to have over your competition is to offer something they’re not willing to offer.
One example of this is you might offer to trace license plates when your competition is not willing to do that.
As a professional, you understand there’s all sorts of restrictions on this. You can’t just do this for anyone at anytime for any reason at all, but there are plenty of exceptions and exemptions. (Hint: look-up “permissible purposes”.)
Your competition may be reluctant to trace license plates and you’re offering to do it. When the client calls you, pre-screen them and see if they have a legitimate reason (permissible purpose). If it falls under one of your states exemptions where you can do this for them then you’re offering a service that the other guy is not willing to offer.
Another example might be process serving.
For example, if you’re willing to go out and take court papers to people when the time comes, maybe your competition’s not willing to do process serving. Suddenly, you’ve got your foot in the door with a new law firm client!
It’s not that other investigators can’t offer that service, but they’re unwilling to.
Or maybe it’s that you’ll do in-person interviews or accident investigations when the other companies aren’t willing to do that. This is your second unfair advantage! Offer a service they’re not willing to offer.
The downside to this advantage is, of course, they can decide, they are willing to offer that service.
In the real world…
When I started out, got my license and opened my detective agency, for the first three months, I didn’t take any domestic cases. I was unwilling to mess around with these infidelities.
For three months, I passed those leads and cases on to other investigators. However, pretty quickly, I discovered, I needed those cases to bring in money and keep the doors open! This was especially true because initially I didn’t have a lot of other work.
I didn’t offer process serving back then, so I didn’t really have the repeat business you get from law firms.
So I needed to change what I was not willing to offer and offer it. Immediately I started taking those cases from my fellow investigators in the area!
It was a very quick and easy thing for me to do once I decided I was going to offer it.
When you offer something the other guy is not willing to offer, be prepared. Eventually, they can come around and say, “You know what? I am going to offer process serving. I am going to offer this other service.” Then you’ve lost that competitive advantage. In the meantime, you’re one step ahead of them.
3. Offer a something the competition is unable to offer.
The third and final unfair advantage I want to share with you is to offer something your competition cannot offer!
This is a very clever thing to do and virtually impossible for them to copy!
Look at yourself and find what you have that’s different or separates you from the competition?
I’m not talking about your unique selling proposition. I have a whole other video on that.
What I’m talking about here is a little different. Here I’m talking about an unfair advantage that the competition cannot offer.
Maybe you come out of law enforcement. Maybe specifically, you’re a former federal agent. You did that for twenty or thirty years. You’re retired and opened your own detective agency.
That is not something that the competition can offer! It’s not something they can replicate easily.
You and I know that just because you were a federal agent for twenty or thirty years doesn’t necessarily make you a good private investigator, but when you’re putting together your marketing package and the reasons why someone should hire you, you may want to look at that and emphasize it.
Many people are impressed with that. You’re going to want to talk about the pros that you bring to their case that the competition simply can’t.
That might include working closely with the federal prosecutor’s office. It might deal with working with inter-state or inter-federal agencies and having a network that other investigators supposedly don’t have. See how you can use that as an unfair advantage?
Okay, maybe you weren’t a federal agent.
Maybe you were a street cop for twenty or thirty years. Heck, five years, six years, two years, it doesn’t matter!
You can emphasize your former law enforcement experience and have that unfair advantage over other people in the industry.
Does being a street cop make you a good private investigator? No. Are the skill sets even the same? Pretty much, no. There are some similarities. But, when you’re marketing your services and you can say, “Look, I’ve been all over this town. I’ve been in parts you wouldn’t dare go into in broad daylight. I’ve been there at midnight. I can go places and get the answers you need.” Talk about your ability to go out into the community and get information. Talk about your local networks and the local connections that you’ve built up over the years. That can be powerful!
This is an unfair advantage that the next guy can’t easily duplicate. Maybe they can’t at all!
What if you were never a cop?
If you come out of the private sector, maybe working retail loss prevention, as I did, emphasize your private sector experience.
You can do things because you have access, networks, and experience that don’t require restricted law enforcement tools.
You may say things like… Look. law enforcement may be really good at running someone through LEEDS or may be really good at running license plates while sitting in a cruiser. They may be awesome at traffic stops, but that’s probably not be what the client needs!
If you’re coming out of the private sector, emphasize to your clients that if they’re looking at someone who might be former law enforcement, a lot of their tools are no longer valid for them. A lot of what police officers cut their teeth on and learned on, they don’t have access to anymore! But you, having come out of the private sector, working in say loss prevention or organized retail crime, you’ve been in the private sector way longer than that guy. You understand how to use private sector resources. You’ve built up the connections and networks that allow you to succeed.
See how you’re taking whatever is unique to you and difficult to replicate and turning it to an advantage!
You can from these examples, one investigative background is necessarily a better than another! Just because you’ve got your license doesn’t make you good. Just because you’re an ex-law enforcement doesn’t make you good. Just because you’ve been a private investigator for twenty years in the private sector doesn’t make you good. There are all sorts of investigators out there that are good at their little niche, maybe, but they can’t stretch out far beyond that.
The key thing is for the client to hire the best investigator for their particular case! (Don’t take a case you can’t do!)
As you can see, no matter where you are in investigative experience or where your agency is, look at what you’ve got going for you that’s difficult for the competition to replicate and that can be an unfair advantage that can last you a long, long time!
If you like these helpful tips, then don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To Be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.