Success is defined as the achievement of something desired. Let’s look at who you are. Successful PI Entrepreneurs must have visions that are in sharp focus in keeping with the agency’s overall marketing plan. Further, PI’s must have goals clearly set in their minds, and they must have beliefs that anything is possible. PI Entrepreneurs are enthusiastic about their profession and are mission oriented; and lastly, they won’t settle for second best. Some typical traits of a successful PI Entrepreneur include the following
Service and Product Expertise – Your knowledge of your agency’s types of private investigator services must be superior. Your technical “know-how” will be required to convey accurate information to the prospect about ways in which your agency can solve his or her problem. Know the attractive features and benefits of your services and products. Think about and understand why prospects should contract with you and not with your competitors. But remember that services and products alone will not persuade the prospect. You must combine private investigation service information with an ability to market yourself. Clients do business with people, not products or services alone.
Strong and overwhelming desire to achieve – It all begins with want. The “want” belongs only to you. The “want” is your passion to achieve your personal and business goals. Being a PI Entrepreneur requires a huge amount of dedication, discipline and drive. “You” are your own support system that causes something good to happen everyday and creates opportunities for your agency. Your passions will open doors to future sales.
Integrity, honesty and dependability – Commitments and promises must be forthcoming in providing services to your client. The client will rely on you to perform just as you said you would. You made that promise and commitment to your client. Now its time to show your stuff. The client will expect you to stand by your word. The client will rely on you to follow through on your commitment. Often, clients will expect you to go that extra mile to reach a successful conclusion. Professional PI’s understand that clients are not interruptions or impositions to their day, clients are the reason you can enjoy this profession. When you give your word – keep it!
Communication and superb interpersonal skills – Verbal and written communication skills will be required every day of your professional life. Those skills must be clear and unmistakable. Communication following the sale will lead to referrals and future business from that client.
Professionalism involves a matrix of behaviors and cannot be described with one single characteristic – A professional PI Entrepreneur will demonstrate honor and integrity, altruism, and respect for the investigative profession. They will be caring and compassionate, willing to give back to the industry, be responsible and accountable, a leader, and continue developing his or her skills through continuing scholarship.
Positive attitude with high personal self-esteem – Successful PI professionals don’t second-guess or doubt themselves. They know who they are and trust in their own abilities. They are able to stay focused on goals with little dissuasion from outside interferences.
Confidence – If you haven’t already come to this conclusion, let me assure you that you are totally responsible for your own decisions and actions. There is no one to hide behind. It’s your name on the door. You are the one who stands behind everything done by your agency. Never look outside yourself to find what went wrong. The “Blame Game” will never solve a problem and will make situations worse. Your position within your agency is inescapable. The resilience and confidence that is built on the foundation of responsibility will firmly establish your agency into a leadership position among your competition.
Decisive goal setting and planning skills – PI Entrepreneurs are focused on where they want to go in life and they carve out for themselves detailed plans on how to get there. Nothing happens by accident. The goals that are set are the kinds that require reaching and stretching and are meaningful when achieved. Successful PI Entrepreneurs are avid planners. They know exactly what they want to accomplish and they plan ways to get there. They have learned to work within their overall agency marketing plan. They make sure their plan is specific and achievable. They reduce their activities to a Daily Action Plan and are determined to reach their goals.
Healthy financial attitude – Responsible attitudes toward money will go a very long way toward survivability of your agency. If you came into this profession only for the money, it won’t be very long before you’ll feel trapped and hate going out the door every day. You’ll need to treat the money that flows through your agency with respect to assure that taxes and commitments are paid. Holding your clients accountable for their timely payment of your invoices becomes hypocritical when you shirk your own financial responsibilities.
Problem solving skills – Clients rely heavily on their PI’s. There is virtually too much at stake. Clients need to be confident that you and your agency have the abilities required to solve the problem and fulfill the client’s needs. One important client need is to be confident that you know what to do next when their investigation runs into a wall.
Emotional stability – Top PI Entrepreneurs must be able to tolerate frustration and stress. Overall, they must be well adjusted and have the psychological maturity to deal with anything that life throws their way.
Dominant and assertive – Investigators often have very large egos and enjoy taking on the competition. Overall they are assertive, active, aggressive and enthusiastic. Having a positive self-esteem is inversely related to the fear of rejection and the fear of failure.
Conscientiousness – A sense of duty comes easily to the PI Entrepreneur. He or she must be self-disciplined and have a high standard toward doing his or her best.
Competitive and Tough-minded – In PI sales, there will be no reward for second place. You did a lousy job on an investigation and the prospect took his or her business to another agency. Simple as that. You accepted responsibility and did not lay blame on others. You held yourself accountable. You learned. You fixed your problem. You reached deep inside for your natural persistence and you moved along.
Self-assurance through self-efficacy – Don’t live your life by accident. The events leading to success in your business and professional life are as purposeful as the sun rising tomorrow morning. By using the principles of self-efficacy, you leave nothing to chance.
Intuitive and insightful -Being a future oriented person and not consumed mentally, emotionally and psychologically with day-to-day personal problems. Seeing the Big Picture and being always alert to new and profitable professional opportunities is a trademark of a good PI Entrepreneur.
Empathetic – PI Entrepreneurs are on the frontline of problem solving. They must be able to put themselves in the prospects shoes to understand the need of the prospect. Without empathy, you cannot build trust in others.
Friendly – PI’s are friendly and people oriented. People buy from people. Prospects want to believe that you have their best interests at heart. Would you want to buy something from a miserable, unfriendly, depressed and insincere person? I didn’t think so.
Perseverance – They seek solutions in the face of adversity. PI’s are not quitters. They are persistent. The most successful PI Entrepreneurs have learned to face the obstacles head on. They look for new solutions. They are tenacious and resilient. Don’t take a “No Thanks” personally. Don’t be resentful. Don’t dwell in the past. Refuse to give up.
Lifelong learner- Your knowledge must be state-of-the-art. You must read everything you can about the services and products you sell. Attend quality and relevant seminars. Join, support and participate in your state and national PI associations. Stay current on legislation that affects our profession.
Steve Mallon is a marketing and sales consultant for private investigative agencies. He is the author of three popular books on PI Agency sales and marketing. Steve can be reached at 954.968-7991 or by email by clicking here.