Gary Hennerberg is an in-demand direct marketer and the founder of Hennerberg Group, Inc. www.hennerberg.com. And from seeing his confident, marketing presentations and reading his clients’ enthusiastic testimonials, you’d never know that he had to overcome a unique challenge to become a successful entrepreneur. Well, recently I caught up with Gary to share his tips and inspiring story. Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us about you and your business.My clients discover a blend of creative and analytic thinking when they work with me. Some call it consulting. Others think of me as a creative director.
I began my direct marketing career on the “creative side” then gravitated more to marketing and product management. When I launched my practice in 1992, I found my creative side again. Blending these disciplines has enabled me to deliver direct marketing response increases of up to 60% (on more than one occasion) with this approach.
When understanding the consumer, research, the numbers, repositioning products, offers and related marketing attributes, I’m able to translate and transform the prospective buyer with powerfully written sales copy.
What have been the most successful marketing tools you have used to build your business and why?
Analysis and transformation. The ability to visualize a product for the deeper reasons that motivates someone to buy enables me to break-through lackluster results. With that requires a rhythm of writing … a cadence … and the visual attributes and show-stoppers that compel the reader to stop and become engaged in what I’m writing.
I use these tools both for online and offline selling. Today, it’s vital for a business to be found online, and SEO requires a blend of analytics and creativity. It used to be that you optimized your keywords based on demand metrics. But today you must understand the supply of keywords and key phrases. The magic: high demand words and low supply of use of those keywords and phrases by competing websites. This process requires an analytic mind blended with creative thinking.
You have a new book called, “Urges.” Tell us about the book and why you wrote it.
“Urges,” www.manage-trich-urges.com, has been a dream to write for years. It’s not a marketing book. Rather, I’ve used my skills to write a book about a mysterious compulsive disorder called trichotillomania. In layman’s terms, it’s compulsive hair pulling. It’s a disorder that starts in children and often continues into adulthood.
I’m an expert on this topic for a very simple reason: I started to pull my hair at the age of six. There are an estimated 6 to 10 million people in the U.S. who shamefully conceal hair pulling by creatively combing hair, wearing wigs or hairpieces, caps and hats, or in some cases, people with “trich” don’t venture away from their homes. It often destroys self-esteem and the ability to interact normally with society.
How have you dealt with the challenges of having trichotillomania while becoming a successful, small business owner?
I haven’t let trichotillomania keep me from succeeding. Actually, I think that living with it has driven me to excel. It’s my way to counter-balance one bad thing in my life with something good and normal. From the age of six until I reached the age of 50, trich had been a secret from just about everyone except my parents, wife, and about three very close friends.
But I decided in 2007 that part of my life’s purpose, through my ability to write, my ability to sell, and my ease with speaking in front of audiences, was to be a public face of trichotillomania. Today, I speak freely about how I have dealt with it, and honestly, I don’t think it’s cost me one friend or dollar of business when people learn about it. Knowing this deeply personal part of my life is humanizing and has often brought people closer to me.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs on how to deal with a specific health issue while trying to start or run a business?
To be successful, you must confront your fear of health issues or disorders, accept them, and look for the gifts and talents that come with having that particular issue. As a child, trichotillomania gave me an inward focus. I wrote poetry and stories to divert my attention while growing up. As a result, writing is a natural extension for me professionally and it has become central to my business life.
While I hid my urges to pull hair, I also forced myself to have no fear of being in front of audiences. Let’s face it, if you’re going to start and run a business, you can’t be afraid of making a sales presentation. Public speaking is often cited as one of the greatest fears of people, but I’ve chosen to embrace it, and if as a hair puller I can confidently present to one person or hundreds of people from a stage, then anyone should be able to do it with practice and coaching.
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us Gary!
If you need assistance with your public relations and SEO copywriting to boost sales, awareness and credibility, please let me know here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com. I’d love to hear from you!