You meet someone at an event.
You exchange introductions and pleasantries.
Question:  “Will what you say be memorable . . . to another person?”
If not, it may be hard for you to ‘stand out’ from the crowd of all the other people who are present at the event.

Solution:  Craft a Core Message that embodies the essence of your value proposition.  Often, it may be the best way for what you’re doing to ‘stand out’ in the Mind of someone you meet.

Ben Franklin Plumbing: “If there’s any delay, it’s YOU we will pay”
Duct Tape Marketing: “Simple, effective and affordable small business marketing”
Pete’s Septic Service:  “When you can’t go, we’ll come!”
Johnson’s Plumbing:  “You call.  We come.  You flush”
Wolfe Design: “More great ideas per square inch than anyone else!”

A ‘core message’ is the distilled essence of the uniqueness and value your business offers. Smaller messages are easier to say.  They’re easier to remember, too. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get called the next time someone needs the value you offer.

Craft a ‘Core Message’ as well as your ‘Elevator Pitch’

After positioning yourself as a SPECIALIST . . . understanding and communicating your ‘core difference’ is an essential element for attracting prospects to you and your practice.

To  learn what your core difference is, talk with your clients.

Client interviews can reveal some very useful insights.  For example, asking your recent clients (who presumably know your competitors) “Why did you choose our firm?”  and, “If we didn’t exist, which firm or provider would you go with?  Why?”.

That will tell you a) who your competition is, b) what their competitive position is and, c) why yours is more attractive.  Pretty powerful information!

Learning what clients find attractive . . . makes you more likely to attract them.

What makes you stand out to a prospect?

Niche –– a focus that differentiates you from others in your field.

If you were arrested and charged with a capital felony, would you want a ‘general’ lawyer to represent you or a lawyer who specializes in ‘criminal defense’ law?  I rest my case (no pun intended).

Being a specialist in some aspect of what you do positions you relative to other providers in your field.  All things being equal, it helps you ‘stand out’ as a Preferred Provider of your problem-solving expertise.

Specialists are more attractive than generalists. Being a ‘specialist’ positions you as a preferred provider in the eyes of prospective clients.

If you’ve ever faced a meaningful problem — e.g. you’re about to spend a significant sum on landscaping, a new furnace, tutoring for your child, braces, a senior living center for your folks, etc. you probably asked yourself: “Is this the best provider to use?”

Create Your Own Credentials and Credibility
Facing a challenge in my own life recently, I found one provider offered a ‘Special Report’: Six Key Questions To Ask Before You Hire a ___________”. It wasn’t about their solution. It was about my question.  WOW!  It blew me away.

Buying a Professional Service
You really need to know two things to make a decision on a professional service, don’t you?  “What will fix my problem?” and “Who is the best person (or, firm) to do it?”

Information Raises The Bar and Sets You Apart
As consumers, we want to know WHAT we need, WHERE to find it, and WHO to use to get it.

Helping a prospective client learn what they must know to make an ‘informed decision’ is not only extremely useful, it also differentiates you from your competitors who don’t provide such information in the ‘initial’ phase of a prospect’s decision-making process.

Help people make good decisions . . . by educating them not only on WHAT they need but on HOW TO IDENTIFY which provider is the best one to use.  THAT . . . is a ‘best practice’ that helps prospects make the right decision . . . more likely and more often . . . in favor of you and your firm.


horsesSome years ago there was a company that manufactured a product used by groomers to make a horse’s mane and tail ‘look nice’.  It was called something like, “Mane and Tail” (obviously not the real name, but you get the basic idea).

As luck would have it, some of the horse groomers were women.  Adventurous women.  Women willing to give this product a try on their own hair!

The result?  They loved it!  It worked just as well at making their hair full and soft and shiny as it did for the manes of the horses they were grooming for horse shows and other competitive events.  Soon the word spread and sales began to rise.

After careful review of this ‘market research’, the manufacturer of this wonderful product decided that ‘women’ as well as ‘horses’ were in a unique position to benefit from this product. Even better, they learned that women were willing and able to pay a higher price for a product that did what this one did.  Next thing you know, the company ‘repackaged’ their product into a ‘for women only’ version, branded it as such and their sales went crazy.  Crazy good, that is.

Knowing who your ‘ideal client’ is will optimize your marketing’s impact on your revenues. Knowing WHAT you do and WHO cares to have you do it for them, can lead you to re-think who you’re seeking to attract as your client.  In fact, a periodic review may lead you to redefine WHO you want and WHY they want the ‘beneficial difference’ you can make in their life. And THAT . . . is powerful information for your marketing!

If you’re reading this, “Thank You”.  You’re helping me make a point about marketing communications — RELEVANCE is key.

Whether you wanted a way to make $30K or you just wanted to prove what ‘BS’ this must be . . . it worked!

In marketing communications, there are four points to consider and use if you want response-able communications:

  1. Focus on your READER’s interests, not you, your product or service (at least initially!)
  2. Focus on his or her PROBLEMS . . . the ‘Pains’, not you, your product or service (at least initially!)
  3. Suggest remedial SOLUTIONS and STRATEGIES . . . to help your reader get what she wants
  4. Invite ACTION . . . not necessarily a ‘purchase’, but an appropriate ‘Next Step’ they can take with you — e.g. ‘Download a complimentary Special Report . . . “

Marketing communications that are most effective are:

  1. tailored to address the interests of a specific market — a ‘target’ market of yours
  2. designed with a specific person clearly in mind (not quite the same as #1 above)
  3. delivered at ‘just the right time‘ (When’s that?  You don’t know?  So communicate CONSISTENTLY!)
  4. ending with a clear ‘Call To Action’ — that is a progressive step toward your ultimate objective — a valuable relationship

Demographic Profile
If you’ve ever read a book on marketing, you know that sooner or later it suggests you profile your ‘ideal client’ by using what is referred to as ‘demographic’ characteristics.  Basically, that’s actually what it sounds like — a picture (graphic) of the kind of people (Demo) that you’d like as clients . . . based on characteristics they share in common.

Characteristic categories include ‘age’, ‘gender’, ‘occupation’, ‘geographic location’ and so on.

Why Bother?
The value of a demographic profile comes when the characteristics begin to reveal your target market in a way that helps you promote your services to them.  For example, if ‘businessowner’ is one of your common characteristics, that suggests opportunities for how to best connect with them — perhaps through a local business organization such as a Chamber of Commerce, a civic organization such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc.

A demographic profile is a key step in understanding not only WHO you want as a client, but WHERE they may be found and HOW you can best reach them.  Work on making your profile as detailed as possible and you’ll find it is very helpful in marketing your services.

The term, “Unique Selling Proposition” has been used way too much.  Especially so if you’re selling a service more than a product.

If you’re selling a tangible product, OK.  It has it’s place.  That’s where ‘New and Improved’ comes from!  But it’s more about the hard features of a tangible product than anything else.

If you’re a service provider, you want to be VALUE-able.  Being able to communicate — and deliver — the VALUE you offer is key.

Ironically, being able to communicate a meaningful value to a prospective client — is actually pretty ‘unique’.

As a service provider, where your greatest asset lies between your ears and above your shoulders, you must be able to do two important things:

  1. discern what your target market wants (and, values!), and
  2. communicate your ‘value’ clearly, concisely and effectively

Doing this will cause you be ‘stand out’ from a crowd of competitors who haven’t figured out:

  1. what their real VALUE to a client is, or
  2. how to convey it in an initial conversation so it becomes a RESPONSE-able conversation!

Marketing efforts are an investment of your time, money and energy. Nothing to be taken lightly.

So who deserves all that attention from you? Simple. People who ‘qualify’ to get it.

And how can you tell who that might be? Good question. Two factors to consider, actually . . .

BUY . . . can someone, sooner or later, buy what you offer or sell? If so, marketing to them is a good idea. If they can’t or won’t, it’s not. Simple.

REFER . . . can someone refer you to people who might buy what you offer or, refer them to you? If so, they qualify for your attention as a marketer. But if they can’t refer . . . you defer!


Marketing is an investment of time, money and energy. To ensure a decent ‘return’ on your investment, make sure you market to people who can buy what you’re selling and/or refer you to others who can.

I have recently ‘discovered’ a most talented individual — Christian Mickelson.

He’s the founder of Coaches With Clients — a San Diego, CA based firm that helps coaches develop the skills and systems for growing their clientele.

In this video, Christian shares a lot of wisdom on the topic of “How To Respond” when someone asks, “What Do You Do?”

It’s always a challenge . . . until you learn the secret of saying the right words to help you become more attractive to prospective clients.

Check out his video . . . he’s a coach himself and, more important (to me) he’s successful because he practices what he preaches . . . he walks his own talk . . . rather remarkable.

You will a lot from Christian. I sincerely hope you do, too!