Don’t let them kid you: Knowledge is NOT power!
Okay, so you’ve taken purposeful steps to identify what you and others see as your key strengths. So what?
Remember: Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power. That means your next step is to figure out a compelling way to describe how using those strengths on behalf of your ideal clients enables you to make life better for them.
As you know, “What’s in it for me?” is one of the first questions a prospect will be asking herself, even if she never says the words out loud. To answer the implicit “So what? Why does that matter to me?” which is likely to follow any mention of your strengths, prepare a powerful answer ahead of time.
Since this is one of the many easier-said-than-done tasks faced by entrepreneurs, I often have my clients start out by looking at their products and services and asking, for each one of them, “So what? What pain does this alleviate? How does it make my client feel more confident, more in control, less stressed? Why should they care?” By keeping in mind all your strengths as you answer these questions, you’ll develop very powerful answers.
Another method that works well is to identify your strengths, using one or more of the above methods, then apply the “So what?” criterion. The answers you get will be terrific building blocks for your irresistible marketing message.
To show you how slick this whole “Here are my strengths and here’s why they matter to you” process is, here are some examples from my work with clients that address my own assessment results.
Strategically apply your strengths to create success for yourself and others.
Note that effective communication, both talking AND listening (per 360-Degree Reach/360R and StrengthsFinder/SF) is a strength that comes into play with all my client interactions. This strength makes it easy for prospects to understand that I understand their challenges and what their needs are, so they start to know, like, and trust me. It also enables me to clearly and compellingly explain the “So what?” behind each of my recommendations, so the client is confident about buying in to them.
Linda is a talented marketer who left her corporate position and started her own consulting firm. She struggled to do for herself what she had been able to do practically in her sleep when she was an employee. As a result, she was feeling out of control, stuck, and fearful.
During our conversations, it became clear that Linda:
- needed to find a way to create order and at least a semblance of routine in her new self-employment
- lacked clarity on what steps to take next (and this undermined her confidence)
- was extremely effective at and really enjoyed project management
To address these issues, I showed Linda how to:
- set up and organize “office hours” for her new business to create a stress-reducing routine
- do a brain dump of all the ideas zooming around in her head so she felt less overwhelmed and more in control
- create manageable, step-by-step action plans that enabled her to confidently and methodically address her important business-development activities
As a result, Linda is now:
- creating irresistible products and services to address all the major pain points of her target market
- creative but not overwhelmed with possibilities
- calm, confident, and excited about being a business owner
She’s enjoying these results because of her own commitment and because I brought to the table:
- Inspiration (per 360R). As an objective observer, I saw her talents and accomplishments more readily than she did. (This is generally true regardless of the client.) By sharing my observations, I authentically boosted her confidence, enthusiasm, and optimism, so it was easier for her to continue courageously taking the action needed to get the results she wants from her business.
- Idea generation (per 360R and Fascination Advantage/FA). Linda found herself running on a hamster wheel and getting nowhere fast. I provided some mental tools that enabled her to step back from her unproductive, frenzied thinking and instead start thinking in terms of actionable baby steps toward her goal. In addition, I was able to suggest technology tools that made it easier for her to adapt her existing project-management skills to the demands of running a business.
Marcia had been going back and forth and back and forth and back, trying to figure out where to focus her marketing efforts. She’d been working with two distinct markets and was hopelessly stuck in her attempts to figure out which, if either, to let go. She was getting really tired of feeling stressed and frustrated.
After listening to the background on the problem and getting her to articulate what she hoped to accomplish and why, several things became clear:
- the market she’d been involved with longest was no longer fun or profitable
- the other market utilized her greatest strengths and provided her with the highest payback
- she lacked clarity on exactly what she wanted to accomplish with her marketing
To address these issues, I:
- asked Marcia a number of pointed, clarifying questions
- used her answers to create a strategic solution to the “torn between two lovers” marketing dilemma
- crafted a manageable, step-by-step action plan that got her started on implementing the new strategy
As a result, Marcia is now:
- reaping the financial and emotional rewards of saying “yes” to her ideal prospects and “no” to everyone else
- approaching work with excitement and confidence rather than frustration and struggle
Why did we get results she had previously struggled for? Because her openness to new ideas and willingness to change dovetailed beautifully with the strengths I brought to the situation, namely:
- Refusal to settle for mediocre results (per FA). As a result of my cheerleading, focus on accountability, and as-needed butt-kicking, Marcia was able to move beyond confusion, self-doubt, and self-imposed limitations to enjoy outcomes even better than she’d hoped for.
- Brainstorming (per 360R and Fascination Advantage/FA). Unlike Linda and her hamster wheel, Marcia was paralyzed with indecision. Although Marcia’s obstacle was the opposite of Linda’s, I was still able to figure out how to get her moving effectively and purposefully toward her important goals.
Denise had hit a plateau in her business. She knew some of the ways she was sabotaging her own success, but didn’t know how to change those self-sabotaging habits. She was doing a lot of huffing and puffing and struggling to figure out how to get back into growth mode.
After a lot of honest exploration of her goals and challenges, several issues stood out:
- Denise was easily distracted by urgent items, much to the detriment of the important activities that needed her attention
- she lacked a system for gathering and prioritizing her business-development ideas
- she left many projects languishing on the back burner
Taking into account the obstacles and opportunities facing Denise, I:
- showed her how to take a more strategic view of her marketing activities
- devised a plan that would both enable her to keep track of necessary follow-up tasks AND would hold her accountable for handling them
- compassionately but firmly challenged her to experiment with strategically chosen marketing activities, despite her discomfort with them, AND provided tools and support to make these activities feel less intimidating
As a result, Denise is now:
- seeing business pick back up
- excited rather than overwhelmed by her business-development ideas
- more confident about making decisions that are right for her and her business
Denise’s own focus and determination were complemented by my:
- Ability to find a new path around obstacles and create solutions others can’t (per 360R, FA, and SF). This enabled me to get her unstuck so she’s no longer frustrated and struggling; she’s started producing results instead of just hoping for them. Figuring out how to handle problems effectively enabled her to shift from feeling helpless and fearful to feeling more confident and less stressed. She’s enjoying the exhilaration that comes with getting the results she wanted, while leaving behind the despair she felt earlier because “nothing has worked”. When she was at the end of her rope trying to solve a sticky problem, I was able to cut through the confusion to figure out where to go and how to get there.
- Knowledge of the right resources and how to effectively tailor those resources to the client’s particular needs (per SF). Denise didn’t have to waste time, money, and energy reinventing the wheel; I was able to share what I’ve learned from all the workshops I’ve attended, all the connections I’ve made, and all the resources I’ve collected over many years. She was confident that she wasn’t being squished into for a one-size-fits-all solution, and she appreciated how easy she found it to work with the solutions I customized for her.
These clients and I did (or are doing) great work together because of their commitment to do whatever it takes to create their desired outcomes, combined with my strengths. But the reason we have the chance to do this great work is that I was able to clearly demonstrate the value of my strengths, as applied to the client’s particular situation, so that we were both confident we’d made a brilliant decision to work together.
Does all this talk of strengths and power give you a nice little tingle and get you thinking about everything you have to offer your ideal clients?
Or are you in a temporary but deep slump that has you questioning your value?
If the latter, maybe it would be worth your time and mine to explore the possibility that what I have to offer would address your current roadblocks. There’s an easy way to find out: set up a get-acquainted call. After just 30 or 40 minutes of asking each other questions, we’ll know what kind of fit we are for each other: not-so-hot or terrific.
If that sounds like a good, no-risk investment of time, just call me at 319-270-1214 to set up our call, or email me with “I wanna feel stronger!” in the subject line. Whether our decision is “go” or “no go”, we’ll both feel confident it’s the right one.
(BTW, thanks to Frédéric BISSON for posting his power switch image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in effectiveness, personal power and tagged business development, creativity, problem solving. Bookmark the permalink.