Whatever you do for a living, it’s a good bet a boatload of other people do exactly the same thing. Your customers, clients or potential employers have dozens … maybe even hundreds of choices.

So why should they pick you?

All of us, in every field of endeavor, ought to be able to answer that question. And our answer should be pithy, potent and persuasive. It turns out that’s a tough one for most people in most businesses.

You know that I speak to all kinds of groups: sales professionals, technology types, small business owners … guys who run auto repair shops and their service advisors.

I run into the same thing over and over. In every industry. In all age groups. And both sexes. People have no idea how to convey the value they offer.

They talk too much. They say too little! And they miss the mark in setting themselves apart from all the others offering the same product or service.

Sound familiar? Here are three quick tips that will help.

1. When we ask you what you do, we really mean “What can you do for me?”

Focus first on your listener, on your clients, on the people you serve. What will they get when they do business with you? Notice that you’re talking about them. Not about the process you’ll follow or the work you’ll do or even the relationship you’ll build.

It’s about the outcome for them. You set yourself up for success when you make it all about them instead of beginning with blather about you.

(If this is challenging, I can help with Magnetic Introductions: How to Have Them at Hello.)

2. This is no time to be modest.

A lot of us grew up hearing things like “Don’t let it go to your head.” “Nobody likes a braggart.” “You’re getting too big for your britches.” We took all that “who-do-you-think-you-are?” to heart and brought it along into our business life.

Yes, modesty can be appealing. And, when you’re promoting your business, you can toss all that out the window. Playing down your strengths, talents and skill will hold you back.

Okay, you don’t have to do a full-on “I’m a stable genius” routine. If you don’t tell us how good you are, though, we’ll have a hard time finding out. And you’ll have a hard time finding clients or customers or your next position.

3. Give us a reason to believe.

 Don’t make us wade through the blah-blah of promotional language to understand your value. Best in class, top of the line, cutting-edge? It’s all but meaningless.

You’ve made it clear that you understand the people you serve, the pickle they’re in, and the outcome they want. Now that you’ve made your message about them, bring it back to you…and support it. We need some evidence that you’re the one.

  • Offer a quick case study: tell us a story about someone like us who got their money’s worth and then some from our work.
  • You might have statistics to back up your message. 90% of your work is with repeat clients. 77% of your customers are referrals from other happy customers.
  • Maybe you won an award for your outstanding customer service. Evidence that you do a stellar job.
  • Some of the best evidence you can offer is a testimonial or two. It’s even better than you telling us what a good job you do, when a happy client’s words tell the tale.
  • You might be able to point your prospects to a review site or your LinkedIn profile where they can see what others have said about you.

One caveat about the evidence you offer. Remember to tie it back to us. The magic words here are “so that” or “that means” or even, “what that means for you.”

Professionals sometimes tout their longevity. It’s fine, if you tell me what it means to me.

  • “We’ve been in business for 22 years.” Who cares?
  • “We’ve been doing this for 17 years. That means we’ve seen it all…and you can count on our experience solving your problem.”

How do you back up your Pick-Me-Message?

Post a comment below to tell us what you do, brag a little bit and give us a reason to believe.