Are you taking the lazy way out?
Ask any ten entrepreneurs why they do what they do, and I’ll bet you that at least eight out of the ten will reply, “I love to help people.”
Understand that I’m not disparaging this reply. (Well, okay, I am, but in a good cause.) The problem is that it’s over-used, predictable, generic, bland, and of absolutely no use in differentiating yourself from the throngs of other business owners who say exactly the same thing.
The only thing “I love to help people” will do is make you disappear into the vast wasteland of entrepreneurs who lack a compelling and unique value proposition. (I’ll expand on this rant in a future post.)
My theory is that many earnest, well-intentioned business owners use this truthful but hackneyed phrase because they’ve fallen prey to intellectual laziness.
It’s very easy to blithely assert you love to help people; it takes a great deal more careful thought to identify specifically how you help them and what it is about the work that makes you enjoy it so.
Now I realize that you may be mentally muttering, “Wait just a damn minute! What about all those posts where you say that marketing should be all about the prospect and NOT about me? How come you’re shifting gears now and recommending I talk about why I like what I do?”
And that’s a fair question. The fair answer is this: I’m not actually recommending that you talk about yourself. I’m recommending that you understand what motivates you to provide the services you do.
Understanding your motivation will enable you to more clearly describe the strengths and capabilities you bring to solving your prospects’ problems. This, in turn, enables you to talk about how your problem-solving skills contribute to better client outcomes.
Why should you bother to clearly identify both the means and the manner of the help you provide your ideal clients?
- It uniquely describes your area of expertise, enabling your prospects to perceive you as a specialist and subject matter expert, not a generalist or jack of all trades.
- The more clearly you can state the type of help you provide, the more your explanation will resonate with the person who’s been hoping with all her heart to find someone like you – and the easier it will be for her to decide she must hire you right now.
- The clearer and more specific you are about what makes your heart sing when you help clients, the more confidently and powerfully you’ll talk about how you can help them – and isn’t that really what they want to know?
Is your value clear to your prospects?
Here’s an example. Do I like to help people? Absolutely. Do I ever say that’s why I do the type of consulting, coaching, and speaking I do? Never – because nobody really cares. But once I dug into why and how I like to provide that help, I was able to incorporate that self-knowledge into my marketing messages:
- What’s in it for me: I know from painful personal experience how rotten it feels to be stuck and overwhelmed, so I feel like a hero when I can shift somebody out of overwhelm and into overdrive.
- What’s in it for you: You can trust me to guide you out of overwhelm, because I’ve been there/done that/gotten the T-shirt. You won’t have to reinvent the wheel when you work with me.
- What’s in it for me: I love the mental challenge of matching up a client’s problem with a whole bunch of potential solutions, then walking them through the one that will give the biggest ROI.
- What’s in it for you: After decades of gathering resources and information, I can save you the stress of slogging and searching for the answer to your problem. And since one of my primary strengths is customizing resources for an individual, you’ll typically get an answer that works for you.
- What’s in it for me: I apparently got in line twice when they were handing out the “loves to ham it up” gene, which means being on stage (literally or figuratively) is one of my favorite things.
- What’s in it for you: I naturally have a good time when speaking to groups, which means that my presentations are fun, engaging, and value packed.
See? It’s pretty straightforward.
So how ‘bout you do some deeper digging into just why and how you so enjoy doing what you do?
One of the fastest ways to dive beneath the surface relies on one little word: “Why”, as in “Why do I so love my work?”
Keep in mind that you’re not asking as a means of justifying it to anyone (including yourself); you’re asking to identify the powerful and compelling ways you can be of value to your ideal clients.
Here’s how it works: Start with the basic statement, “I’m in business because I love to help people.” Then ask, “Why do I love helping people?” and answer that question. Then ponder your answer and again ask, “Why?” Keep asking “Why?” until you truly feel you’ve drilled down to the essence of your passion for your business.
Now you’ve got terrific building blocks for crafting a powerful statement of your value that will draw your ideal clients toward you with ease and grace. Not a bad deal for a bit of introspection, is it?
But what if the deeper you delve, the more possibilities you uncover and the less clear you get? Sometimes that just happens – maybe to keep life from getting dull – and you get to slog through the additional data to uncover what’s really essential. I stick by my contention that this is a high-value way to spend your time, and I know that it can be a bit of a crazy-making process.
If you can feel your eyes start to wheel in your head at the mere thought of this exercise, maybe I can help. Since two of my strengths are asking questions and cutting through extraneous information, I’m typically very effective at moving clients through processes that would normally overwhelm them.
Would this help in your situation? Maybe. Maybe not. What I’m pretty sure of is that it would be valuable and even kind of fun to explore that possibility in a no-risk, no-charge, get-acquainted session. It’s easy to set up; just call/text me at 319-270-1214 or email me with “Why?” in the subject line. Share some times you’re available for our first date, we’ll get it on our calendars, and we’ll see what we see.
(BTW, thanks to Colin_K for sharing his image of the traffic sign in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in marketing and tagged creativity, passion, promotion. Bookmark the permalink.
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