I attended a local business gathering yesterday.  John Voice, a business contact who ‘makes the rounds’ of social connection meetings, shared a piece of insight that is absolutely brilliant!

He was challenged at a business meeting to introduce himself in just ten (10) words.  TEN!

He said it was difficult.  But then added, “I was then asked to do it in only FIVE (5) words!”

Discussion about each person’s ability to do this ensued and became rather lively.

We developed a formula:  “I help . . . ” (the first 2 words)  “(Ideal client / target market)” (third word or phrase) “Action Verb + Valuable Outcome” (the fourth and fifth words).

Examples:  “I help seniors find work”, “I throw parties everyone remembers”, “I grow sales for entrepreneurs”.

Of course, you can expand on these ‘core value statements’.  But isn’t it better to start with a solid ‘core’ than a ‘muddled middle’?

Less is More . . . especially when it comes to communicating your value!

Telly Savalas, the actor who played the TV detective “Kojac” used that as his ‘signature’ line.

In marketing, that means knowing who can best:

  • UNDERSTAND . . . what you do for your clients
  • DESIRE . . . the benefits you offer your clients
  • AFFORD . . . to pay a fair price to work with you

Many people in business think, erroneously, that ‘everyone is a prospect’.  Not so.

You have such limited resources of time, money, energy, network connections, etc. that, quite frankly, you can’t afford to think that way. Because if you do, you risk being unfocused, inefficient, ineffective and decidedly non-profitable.  Not good.

Do some work ––  create a profile or picture of your Ideal Client.  Put a name and a face on this person.  Fill in all the particulars — hopes, fears, dreams, frustrations you can address (and those you can’t!).  Then you’ll have something that will focus your marketing and make it far more likely to be productive and profitable.

Profile your Ideal Client . . . knowing who your target is . . . is a big key to hitting it!

In traditional (i.e. retail) marketing, you’ll hear the term “USP”.  This stands for Unique Selling Proposition.  It’s why we associate ‘New and Improved’ as being synonymous with ‘Better’ than other items in the same category.

That’s OK for ‘detergents’ or ‘lawn tractors’.  But if you’re selling a service, you don’t need to worry about being seen as being ‘unique’ as much as you want to be seen as ‘valuable’.

So while your position is important, you want to be known for being VALUABLE more than UNIQUE.  If you want to be unique, wear a pink suit . . . I guarantee you’ll stand out.

But if you’re providing real, meaningful and tangible VALUE . . . you’ll stand out to your marketplace . . . and in a far more attractive way.

Positioning . . . is about being known for being valuable more than unique

WHO . . . do you want to attract to you?
The people who can best understand, value, desire and afford the beneficial difference your Mission suggests, of course!

You want people who “see themselves” as part of any group that resonates with your Mission.  So consider defining your NICHE around any of the following:

Industry –– e.g. banking, financial services, healthcare, etc.
Function –– e.g. accounting, IT, sales, marketing, HR, finance, manufacturing, etc.
Situation –– e.g. relocating executives, turn-arounds, new start-ups, etc.
Problem –– e.g. employee skill deficiency, inadequate sales and revenues, etc.
Trend –– e.g. social media, online marketing, tele-commuting, distance learning, etc.

Your MISSION suggests your MARKET.  Your MARKET validates your MISSION.

Knowing WHY you’re valuable, suggests WHO cares and WHERE you’ll find them

You’ve heard that ‘Content is King’?  It’s true!

I know people must get to Know of you (awareness), Like you (preference) relative to other providers in your field and Trust (confidence) that you can (and, will!) ‘deliver the goods’ before they’ll do business with you.

That’s even truer if you’re in law, accounting, or any field of business consulting.

Building a preference for you and your brand . . . is where ‘educational content’ becomes relevant.

If you offer a service . . . what you’re asking a prospective client to buy is . . . YOU!  Faith and trust in your ability to deliver a valued outcome that, let’s be honest, is not going to be enjoyed until some time in the future.

Offering information that helps a prospect make a good decision about the kind of services you offer will help differentiate you from other providers who think saying, “Trust Me” is really going to cut it.

Educational content not only makes buying less risky for your prospects, it also makes it more likely it will be with you!

Years ago, a red salmon cannery in the Pacific Northwest was losing it’s share of the market for salmon.  This bothered the company owner who asked his VP of Marketing to find out why.

After much research, the VP reported.  “Well, seems there’s this new kind of Salmon — PINK.  It’s eating into our share of the market for Salmon.” Distraught, the company watched as their marketshare steadily declined.

Finally, in desperation, the company owner called a meeting.  “Folks” he started, “we have GOT to do something about this Pink Salmon problem.  See what you can come up with”.
The staff went away only to return shortly thereafter.

“Boss!  We’ve got it!”  The owner was excited!  “Tell me” he asked, “what did you decide?”. “Simple.  We’re just going to change the label on our cans!”.  The owner agreed.  Shortly thereafter, sales of Pacific RED Salmon was (no pun intended) ‘in the pink’ once again.  The label change was simple. They added, “Pacific Red Salmon.  Guaranteed NOT to turn Pink.  Inference?  “Pink Salmon?  Whoa!  What happened there?”

The company positioned itself against a quality its competition could not change!  And it was enough to boost the sales of their (RED) Salmon.

If you’re outstanding but not standing out, find your ‘competitive distinction’ and beat that drum like a dusty rug in the springtime!

I love the expression, “If you seek to be everything to everyone, you end up being special to no one”

So often we see marketing that promotes the firm or product or service more than what interests the very person that marketing is supposed to appeal to — the prospective client. Why is that? I suspect two things.

First, IGNORANCE.  If you don’t know what matters to your prospect, it’s pretty difficult to craft your marketing message around that . . . isn’t it?

Second, INDOLENCE.  It’s not difficult to survey your clients, learn what they want and how to best position yourself, your firm or brand against the competition.  Unfortunately, many people and firms don’t seem to care to do their homework.

Focus . . . means finding the ‘remarkable distinction’ that aligns what you do really well and your ideal clients really want.  Get that correct and your marketing will not only make sense, it will make you lots of money.

Narrow your focus . . . find your passion . . . leverage your position . . . build revenues

Are you FRUSTRATED by your prospects?
Are people just not ‘getting’ how fortunate they are to work with you? Do you find yourself compelled to sell the value you offer . . . a little harder than you like?

Maybe you’re appealing to the WRONG people. David Sandler, founder of Sandler Training used to say, “There are no bad prospects.  Only bad salespeople.  He was correct.

Marketing’s no different.  Your service is probably fine BUT . . . your targeting may be off.

You may be wondering, erroneously, “Is something wrong with my product or service?”. In fact, there may be nothing wrong at all.  Nothing, that is, except that you’re appealing to people who simply cannot understand, value and act upon the great value you’re offering.

If people aren’t appreciating what you do . . . change WHO you’re appealing to!

Testimonials vs. Referrals
Testimonials are endorsements that address ‘obstacles’ that can keep a prospective client from taking a ‘Next Step’ with you.  That’s why you collect and use testimonials –– to address obstacles to taking action by a prospect for your services.

Referrals are endorsements that position you as a PREFERRED PROVIDER of your services relative to other firms or providers in your field or marketing area. The referror’s endorsement of you makes selling your services much, much easier than if you meet prospects through other means.

Remark-ability is THE key to Refer-ability
In The Referral Machine™ — a program I offer, we contend that to be refer-able you must also be remark-able. Meaning?  People won’t refer TO you if they don’t think much OF you.

A Remark-able Experience is an Aligned Experience
When the experience you offer aligns with the expectations (or, exceeds them) of your Ideal Client, you have a competitive edge, marketing-wise.  So how do you learn what makes you remark-able?  ASK your clients.  Your best clients.  The ones who’ve already voted for you with their money.

In the next posts, I’ll show you precisely how to learn the basis of your remarkability (and, referability) by asking a few select questions of your best clients.  Stay tuned!

Many business owners tell me they feel they’re wasting their time, money and attention on people who are not giving back ‘in kind’

Can you relate?  Ever feel you’re wasting your attention and affection on prospects, clients and centers-of-influence who just aren’t making it worth your while to cultivate a relationship with them?

Two Keys to ‘Green Light’ relationships.

BUY . . .”Can someone BUY what you offer?”
REFER . . . “Can someone REFER others who can or will?”

If someone can not or will not buy from you or refer others to you (or, for you) . . . they don’t belong in your Client Development System.  Period.  Someone may be a wonderful human being in every way, but . . . if they can’t add to your key business outcomes, they don’t belong in your system.  And, if they aren’t ‘in’ your client development system, they won’t be wasting your time, money and energy . . . will they?

STOP chasing unqualified individuals and GO after people who can add to your business’ bottom line.