The following post is by guest author Kirk Hoffman. Kirk is a Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach and lives in Maryland where he operates Absolute Arrow Coaching. Click here to see his biography -or- click here to read his other posts.
"When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world" (George Washington Carver, 1864-1943)
We all experience the endless number of choices in today's marketplace. As business owners, we often struggle to be heard above the cacophony of advertisements and commercials flooding society every day. Many beginning entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to be seen or heard in this economic era.
My suggestion is just what Mr. Carver suggests above. Take the common elements of business - target market, prospect identification, needs and desire, personal branding - and address them in an uncommon way to get attention.
Uncommon Way 1: Identify Ideal Clients
The first step is to identify the type of person whose attention you really want.
The Book Yourself Solid system teaches an uncommon method called the Red Velvet Rope policy. Imagine the new, hip club in town. People arrive in droves, wanting to know what it's all about, only to find a humongous doorman with his clipboard and the red velvet rope. Only those on the coveted V.I.P. list get in. While we don't want to come across as businesses that are going to bounce people who aren't on our list, there are two ways in which you can benefit from this concept.
From the business’s point of view, the customers allowed to enter are those who are ideal clients for the product or service. They will energize and inspire you instead of sapping your strength and dragging you down. These customers also enable you to do your best work.
The customer will experience this synergy as well. Being the recipient of your best work, the customer will then proceed to talk about those results out in the world, doing your most effective marketing for you.
Defining your ideal client and continually working to serve them is the beginning.
Uncommon Way 2: Five Steps To Why People Will Buy
Once you've identified your ideal client, you must have products or services that provide deep-rooted benefits.
The Book Yourself Solid system has five steps:
1. Know your target market
2. Understand the needs and desires of your target market
3. Identify clear, specific results you will provide
4. Offer investible opportunities - products and services
5. Provide deep-rooted benefits - financial, physical, emotional, spiritual
Each step could be a blog post in itself. Nevertheless, working through the answers to these five steps will clarify all the components necessary to get your customers' attention.
Way 3: Personal Brand - Who, What and Why
Once you've found your ideal clients and have products and services that deliver the benefits they desire, you must know your personal brand identity.
Personal brand can be stated in two parts. The first uses the information you have collected to this point. The second requires inward examination.
Start with your "who and do what". Simply, it's who you serve and what you do for them. You combine your target market with the results and you've got it.
The second statement is why you do it. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you stand for in the world?
Take note that this might be the most uncommon task in this process and the most valuable. Generally people don't like to state their personal mission and life values boldly. It's much safer to talk about impersonal products and services.
I believe that incorporating the why of your business just may be one of the most important messages to communicate to your market. In our Web 2.0 and Gen Y era, connecting to customers as real people is of the highest importance. Even if it only is the lens through which you connect to your target market, it is a necessary ingredient. Ignore this at your own risk.
Uncommon Way 4: Have A Conversation - No Pitches Allowed
I don't know many business owners that like the 'elevator pitch.' At best it is an impersonal, scripted, one-way speech forced into a timeframe. At worst, you could cause the listener to dismiss you, and your business, forever.
Instead, incorporate the information from each section above into potential conversations with those that might be interested. When time is short, your "who and do what" statement is a great beginning. With longer stretches of time, the components of why people buy can be used in different arrangements to convey information about you and your work.
The most important point to remember is that there is a real person in front of you. Avoid shoving information down their throats. Listen and be respectful, attentive and relevant to the conversation at the moment.
Most businesses out there are hawking a product. From what I can tell, their only true interest is to get my money into their bank accounts. They want profit.
One of the most uncommon and powerful ways to get attention (and it is sad to think it's uncommon) is to deeply care about the market you serve. This is an area where the small business and solopreneur have taken the advantage. Go back through the steps outlined above, hone your responses, and know how you impact your customers' lives for the better. Finally, dig into the "why" of your life and uncover that spark that makes it all worthwhile, that will energize your life and the lives of those whose paths you cross.