No matter what you do for a living, it’s a good bet there are a slew of other people doing the exact same thing. Your customers, clients or your potential employers have dozens or even hundreds of choices.
So why should they pick you?
All of us, in every line of work, ought to have an answer that’s pithy, potent and persuasive. And yet, I find that it’s a tough one for most people in most businesses.
You know that I speak to all kinds of groups, from sales professionals to business women to, well, this past weekend I spent a full day with guys who own auto repair shops, their managers and customer service people.
I run into the same thing consistently. Across industries. From big companies to solopreneurs. In all age groups. And both sexes. People have no idea how to convey their value.
They talk too much. They say too little. And they fail to set themselves apart from all the others who offer something similar.
Well we don’t have all day to spend together, you and me. But I can give you three quick tips that will help.
1. When we ask you what you do, know that we really mean, “What can you do for me?”
Focus first on your listener or your clients or your employer. What will they get when they do business with you? Notice that the focus is on them. It’s not about the steps you’ll take or the process you’ll follow. It’s about the outcome for them. So talk about them before you yap about you.
2. This is no time for modesty.
A lot of us grew up hearing things like “Don’t boast.” “Nobody likes a braggart.” “You’re getting too big for your britches.” “Don’t get a swelled head.” “Who do you think you are?” We took it to heart and brought it with us straight into our professional life.
When you’re promoting your business, or you’re in the running for a new position, you can toss all that out the window. Playing down your strengths and talents and skill is like spraying yourself with client-repellant.
Okay, you don’t have to do a full-on Donald Trump routine. But if you don’t tell us how good you are, we’ll have a hard time finding out. And you will have a hard time finding clients.
3. Give us a reason to believe.
It’s hard for your customers or clients or potential employers to cut through the blah-blah of typical promotional verbiage. Best in class, top of the line, first rate service. Huh?
So after you’ve made your message about them, bring it back to you and support it. We need some evidence that you’re the one.
That could be a quick case study: tell us a story about someone like us who got their money’s worth and more from what you offer.
You might have statistics to back up your message. 90% of your clients come back to work with you again. 73% of your customers are referrals from other happy customers. 82% of your clients meet their goals with your help.
Maybe you won an award for your outstanding customer service. That’s evidence that you do a darn good job.
Some of the best evidence you can offer is a testimonial or two. Even better than you telling us what a good job you’ll do for us, you can let a happy customer’s words tell the tale.
In the same vein, you might be able to point your prospects to an online review site where they can see what others have said about you. And count the stars you’ve earned.
One caveat about the evidence you offer. Don’t forget to tie it back to us. The magic words here are “so that” or “that means” or “because.”
Professionals often blab about how long they’ve been in business. That’s fine, if you tell me what it means to me. “We’ve been doing this for 17 years. That means we’ve seen it all and we put all that experience to work for you.”
“A client in the same situation as you got great results with our help so that you can expect a similar outcome.”
“Because three quarters of our business is based on referral, you know we’ll take good care of you; we want you to refer us too.”
I’d love to hear how you back up your “why me?” message. Tell us what you do, brag a little bit and give us a reason to believe.