Author Interview: Isard Haasakker On Attracting Ideal Clients By Making Himself Unique


The Importance of Being Noticed: Make Yourself Unique

An Interview with Isard Haasakker





Tired of being seen as a ‘one trick pony,’ Isard Haasakker believes that by writing about your skills you will stand out from the crowd and be noticed. With the help of Write Business Results, he enlarged the scope of his original narrative by focusing on the importance of his message, rather than the business process. He published his book, full of amusing stories, to showcase his many talents and help him to gain entry into the boardrooms of companies and entrepreneurs. After reading his book they said, "Well, yes. Why didn't we do this before?"  For Isard, that opened the door.  


Georgia:
Thank you, Isard for doing this interview for Write Business Results. It's great to talk to you and hear everything that's been going on with you. Tell us a little bit about your book and why you decided to write it?
Isard:
The book is about my experience as a IT consultant. In a lot of working environments, the same mistakes are made over and over again. By just having a particular focus, the client can save a lot of time and money. I thought that it would be wise to put that into a book that you can read in a matter of two, three hours, and get a lot of insight about the potential to change your organisation. It gave me the opportunity to show that I can actually think about such topics.  Normally, I'm part of a large project and I'm just seen as a resource, with a particular skill; a one-trick pony. This book gives me the opportunity to reach entrepreneurs, high management, CEO’s and CIO’s  and tell them about the potential in money saving.
Georgia :
That's a really interesting idea. It was not only a chance for you to support people working on future projects but a way to actually reach people that would normally be hard to get in touch with.
Isard:
Yes, exactly. The book was a long journey. Now that it is finished, I'm extremely happy with the end result.
Georgia:
That's fantastic. Can you tell us a little bit about the changes you have experienced from starting the book and where we are now?
Isard:
My first focus was on the particular skill that I was able to acquire over the past decade. My specific skill is I can set up SAP with accounting and logistics, within one working day. That might not sound extraordinary for someone who doesn't know the SAP world, but is quite a bold statement. A lot of people think that it's just simply not possible. Then I started to talk to them about it. Within five to ten minutes they changed their attitudes and said, "Actually, you are right, it is possible."
First of all, I was focusing on the ‘how’. While I was defending my outrageous statement, by stepping away from ‘how’ and by emphasising that it is not such a bold statement, I discovered I was able to convince people that it is feasible. In the beginning they thought, "This is weird." After reading the book they said, "Well, yes. Why didn't we do this before?"  For me, that opened the door.  I discovered the ‘how’ was not important. That was not going to reach my target audience. I was thinking too small. I was thinking about writing for my colleagues. What was much more important was to reach the top level.
It took me several years to write this book because, in the beginning, I was going in the wrong direction. By talking about the topic, what I wanted to write about initially, about the ‘how’, the more interesting conversations were to be had in defending that statement. That became basically the new framework for the book that is out at the moment.
Georgia:
That's really interesting. It sounds as if it started to take on a life of its own. You were able to progress your own thinking about what you do, and the value people received. You were able to refine your message and simplify those concepts.
Isard:
There were two things. I made it easier to understand for people who are actually not that experienced about SAP, and I made it more down to earth.
The problem was, if I wrote a book about the ‘how’, it would very quickly become outdated as soon as it was published. The second thing was I need to convince a lot of consultants who are interested in the ‘how’, what kind of decisions they need to make. If you only have one day, just to put something into perspective, it is going to blow their minds completely.
I had to explain to the people who wanted to know ‘how’, what kind of decisions I've made in order to put everything into one day. That is what this book is all  about. If they see my instructions and they are not entirely sure that I was of sound mind by skipping certain types of functionality, I would say to them, "Read the book."
By just reading the book, just they understand exactly where I'm coming from.
Georgia:
That's a key point. A lot of would-be authors want a book to increase their influence. They don't know how that works, and maybe they're unsure what to write about. You've clarified some key points for people by saying, "Don't focus on your business processes, focus on the importance of the message for the people that you're writing for. Use a book essentially to cut out the middle man.” When people bombard you with questions, you have a really neat way of just saying to them, " I respect your time. I'm going to give you this. This is a gift. Read it and we can continue the conversation."
Isard:
Definitely.
Georgia:
It actually seems to be making your communication much more effective.
Isard:
Exactly. That also points out that the book can't be too long. You should be able to read it in two or three hours, because if you're going to say to people, "If you read this, you will understand where I'm coming from," and then you give them a book that takes them a whole week to go through, it misses the point. Nobody would read it.
Georgia:
Again, that is a really good point. When a book is limited to 50 to 100  or 150 pages, it can be read in a couple of hours. For a lot of prospective clients their time is very much in demand. It's a respectful way to go about giving them the information they need.
Isard:
Time is very precious. Three important things are the core message of the book, the stories surrounding the message, making it a fun read, and its educational value. You need to be able to action immediately on what you have read. It's not easy to write something like that, but I think that has been achieved now.
Georgia:
I loved the stories in your book. They were so funny. The chicken soup story is definitely one that's going to stay with me!

Isard:
These kind of things happen during projects with other colleagues. The guy who actually had this experience, never wrote it down. He has given me this gift of his story.
There's a trick that a lot of people are missing which makes me stand out from the rest. They don't expect a guy like me to have written a book about how to speed up your implementation, saving your company millions, so now, they see me as a resource. They see me as an investment, not a cost.
This book is a way to bypass middle management and go straight to the top and say to these guys, "Look, I can come into your business, and I can save you money. If you like the ideas that are in my book, then give me the freedom to realise them for you."
Georgia:
You've done something unique and surprising. It's not what people expect. This book gives you access to people that would normally be hard to access, and it gives you a layer of credibility. You're really able to educate people in the process. It's not simply self-promotion. You're giving them information that they are not going to get unless they read this. Other people in your position don't even think to put their thoughts down on paper.
I think that's a real lesson to a lot of people. They get a little insecure, scared or worried, about the idea they want to write a book, but they don't voice it out loud. They think, who am I to write? I don't think I'm qualified. What you've proved is, “I am confident in my own capabilities. I do have knowledge that's useful to people, and who cares what the status quo is? I'm going to make it my mission to get this book out there." That's fantastic.
Isard:
That's exactly the aim. It was a long journey. The book is out now. It is going to be interesting to see how it helps me in the transformation that I want to go through. There are certain things that are happening in my line of business that are forcing everybody in my world to adapt, basically to change or die. To change into a butterfly, you first need to make a cocoon.
Georgia:
This is interesting.
It's great that you're one of the first of your kind to have your book out because it demonstrates that you're a thought leader, you're ahead of the curve, and you're forward thinking. With all the changes coming up, there's really a need for people in your line of work to be working out how they can differentiate themselves, and how they can be making businesses which demonstrate they are unique.
Isard:
Hopefully, by having this book out and being very active on social media, I will stand out. Basically, LinkedIn is my social media platform tool to promote what I'm doing and how I'm thinking. The more people who are directly linked to me and respond to my message, the more chance I can actually reach end customers and also entrepreneurs who are going to start to say, "This guys is continually posting things that are interesting, and he's saying things that make me think."
Before you know it, you have the potential of reaching several hundreds of thousands of people by just being active and posting things on the social network sites that are relevant. That's obviously important; to be relevant.
Georgia:
What are the top three ways you've used your book as a promotional tool?
Isard:
Firstly, I am hoping to get the book into the boardroom. That is my main achievement. If entrepreneurs or CEOs are contacting me directly, because they have a problem that needs fixing, and they like the way I'm thinking, that would be a major win. That would be my ultimate goal.

Secondly, if I go for an interview for a particular job, because they see me as a one-trick pony, I can leave this book behind for them to read. Then they can see this guy is actually a bit more than just a consultant, he has got more up his sleeves.
Lastly, the fact that I’ve written a book shows that there's something more to me. Just by association, by the fact that you've written a book, makes you stand out by definition, even if the content of the book is not relevant. It is out there and that leaves an impression. Someone may ask, "What have you been doing the last three months?" and I reply,  "I've written a book. You can buy it on Amazon." That is very funny, because then they say, "Oh, okay." No one is expecting that.
Georgia:
No, they're not. That's a pretty good reason. That's a pretty good thing to be doing for a couple of months isn't it; writing a book?
Isard:
Yes, I would certainly think so.
Georgia:
You're an absolute fountain of knowledge, Isard. I really appreciate everything that you shared. Can you just tell us the title of your book and where people can find out more about you?
Isard:
The book is called, "Make FIT Your Purpose." FIT stands for the fast implementation track. It is aimed for SAP and is about deploying that system in time, within budget, and also fiscal purpose. I step into the shoes of an entrepreneur, and explain how an entrepreneur thinks and how they make their decisions.
Georgia:
That's fantastic. That's brilliant. That is Make FIT Your Purpose.
The book is available to buy on Amazon and people are free to connect with you on LinkedIn. Do you also have a website?
Isard:
Yes, www.makefityourpurpose.com.
Georgia:
Having read the finished product of the book, I can say that it's a fantastic read, and there's a lot for people to learn in there about their own business processes outside of IT implementation. Thank you for sharing such a wealth of information.


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