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Hi My Name Is: Hal - Market

Market is a noun. We started to use it as a verb years ago, but it was first a simple noun: An area or arena where commercial dealings are conducted. One of the largest arenas today is online. 

Here's a question: What's your market? 

Are your clients local attorneys and businesses? Do you get work through word of mouth and referals? If so, maybe consider using your web presence as verification instead of advertising or promoting. 


Hi My Name Is: Hal - Maximize

Bob Garfield offers this exchange in his book, Can't Buy Me Like:

"Honey, don't you want to hit the snooze button?"

"Nah. I have to go maximize shareholder value."

It's a conversation that has never taken place. It's absurd.

My friend Ben Goldberg creates restaurants. He's successful. He has investors. Ben's success is due, in large part, to his approach to people. 

"I always default to the customer experience." Ben says.

Using this model, maximizing shareholder value is a byproduct. 


Hi My Name Is: Hal - Public Speaking


We've been on the road a lot this year. The Pursuit Road Show traveled to North Carolina, South Carolina, Chicago, Texas, Nashville, Memphis, Wilmington, and Myrtle Beach all in the past few months. 

Why? To share stories. 

Here's what people are saying:

"As the Director of a state association, it is sometimes difficult to find speakers on a national level without having an advanced opportunity to listen to their presentation – therefore, you don’t always know what you are getting.  Hal condensed what could have been a two or three hour presentation into one hour and used his working knowledge of the craft to give a thought provoking and sometimes humorous presentation.  He provided professional content and used the graphics and visual aids of his presentation to his advantage which engaged the private investigators in attendance.  Thanks Hal."

Ken Walter - SC Association of Legal Investigators (SCALI)

"Our group was so impressed with his topics and his presentation that we have asked him to do a repeat performance at our next conference.  Hal has a personality that transcends many different levels.  He is witty, entertaining and uses that to drive home his message.  I personally feel that I made a friend and a new colleague in Hal Humphreys."

Sandy Russell - NC Association of Private Investigators (NCAPI)

The Pursuit Road show may be in your area soon.  


Hi My Name Is: Hal - Gaming the system

Keyword rich landing page. Keyword rich posts. Keyword rich ...

The following construct may get you some traffic. 

"If you're looking for an Anytown, Anystate private investigator, PBJ Investigations in Anytown, Anystate offers detective services in the Anytown, Anystate area."

But ... I would argue that anyone who reads the above sentence will bounce in the two seconds it takes to read the first line. Try this instead: Tell good stories that are relevant to your audience. 

Tell real stories. Share useful information. Be real

Yeah, it takes more time, but in the long term you'll gain more.


Encouraging the Spy Curious

curious spyglass

Why Mentoring Up-And-Coming Investigators Is Good for the Industry


A young man messaged me through LinkedIn a few weeks ago seeking advice about his career. He’d been a researcher at a national investigative firm for 10 years and had the notion that he’d scrambled his way as far up the corporate ladder as he was ever going to. “I would love to pick your brain about the business,” he said.

We chatted via email several times, then caught up on the telephone last week. It wasn’t a long conversation, but it was productive. We plan to grab a cocktail next week and discuss the state of the industry.

This exchange is not unique. I get a call like this at least once a month. If you run an investigative company, I’m sure you get them all the time.

The caliber and experience of the people who reach out is impressive: a woman transitioning out of the public defender’s office in Washington State; an older gent from Texas about to retire from a career in law enforcement; a Fulbright Scholar, fresh out of university, ready to tackle the world—all interested in becoming professional investigators.

I enjoy helping others figure out their strengths and weaknesses and am happy to offer whatever insight I can. I also steer folks toward Pursuit Magazine—a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the business of investigations—and PIEducation.com, which offers courses on various topics that an investigative hopeful would find useful and interesting.

Currently, we’re working on a new product for people who want to become private eyes. It’ll be a few months in the making, but we’re excited about offering a series of courses, e-books, and guides for the aspiring gumshoe.

In the meantime, we’ll keep answering the phone and returning emails from the spy curious out there, people who have an interest in transitioning to this fascinating and rewarding business. I encourage you to do the same. Offer advice. Share experience. Cultivate and encourage young, smart, and talented people to join our ranks. Hire them. Train them. Learn from them. They’re not our competitors. They’re our colleagues.

And besides, a successful person never forgets his or her first mentor. It never hurts to have powerful allies rising in the ranks of your profession.  

The more savvy, educated, and energetic people we encourage, the more our industry gains credibility. And the more cachet you’ll have when you call yourself a professional investigator.—THH

this post appeared in Pursuit Magazine