Small Business Growth – Why Don’t They See The Real Value Of What I Offer?
... aka why people see and value the contribution of some experts while others remain invisible...
So you are a modern professional, expert and entrepreneur. You do good work that can really help people. Why is it that sometimes people don’t see the real value of your contribution? You work hard on marketing your business and sometimes you have the feeling that there is something missing.
Well, there is something missing that keeps most experts invisible to the very people they could be helping the most. And it is not more marketing…
Marketing is by far not enough for a modern professional, expert or entrepreneur. Marketing is not even the starting point.
Yes, as much as I love marketing (aka the crystal clear communication of the value of your contribution that attracts your best clients so that you can do your best work), marketing is not enough. If we start by communicating a message and people don’t even see us, our message won’t have a chance.
"If only people could see how valuable what I have to offer is..."
So why is it people don't see?
The answer to that is positioning. (We are not talking here about bragging, self-proclamation or declaring oneself the #1).
What we are talking about is how visibility really works.
The market place is noisy and clutter so human beings turn off. That's our way of managing an overload of information. We have bandwidth only for what we perceive as true resources to us.
Positioning starts by becoming a valuable, relevant, credible resource for your audience of potential clients/patients/students in the first two seconds of them seeing you or the online representations of you. (We live in a world where people google your name to make decisions. We live in a world where people check out your social media channels to make decisions).
Why is "seeing" so important?
Because human beings process visuals 60,000 times faster than any other input. So the decision of how they are going to position someone in their mind is made ultra fast. Positioning in the minds of your audience happens ultra fast and conditions the relationship they are going to have with you.
The #1 Pitfall
Experts start with the "message", with the "movement", with the "marketing". That is not seen, heard. That keeps them invisible. Worse than invisible... It damages anything valuable they have to say because now in the minds of the people they could be helping the most they are positioned as "people to be avoided".
The #1 Myth
A pervasive myth is that to grow a business we, as professionals or experts, have to market harder; yell louder; scream louder. (I don’t know about you, but I would hate to do that).
And the good news is that we shouldn’t do that. That puts experts in a terrible category in the minds of the people they can be helping the most.
The other extreme is no marketing. "People will come and discover me because I'm that good and that's enough". (That doesn't work either).
The right positioning for yourself and your good work so that actually people see you, hear you and trust you first. Then, they can actually hear what you have to say and value your contribution. You don't have to "market or sell" to them.
Real World Examples
No matter what your field is, you can quickly identify the top "leaders" in that industry in the minds of your audience. They might not be "the best" but people see them as "the best". People buy from them without them having to "sell hard". They have even reversed the market dynamics like show business stars but in their field of expertise. (A music star gives a concert and we, technically the clients, don't tell them what songs to play or what clothes to wear or how much the tickets should be.
We want to hear what they have to say and we want to be near them).
They get more and more visible, get all the invitations to speak, to be in the media and thus they become even more visible. They have learned how to position themselves online so they have all the visibility there, too.
On the other end of the spectrum you have an "ocean" of undifferentiated professionals, experts and entrepreneurs who keep positioning themselves and their work as "to be ignored". Some of them market hard and they see little return for their investment.
You see this every day in every industry. You can see this happening in your industry.
The Sequence That Works For Modern Professionals, Experts & Entrepreneurs
Positioning yourself as a valuable, relevant, credible resource first. Marketing next.
Marketing in our books is the crystal clear communication of value of the contribution you provide so that you attract your best clients and do your best work. So, if marketing is communication, you need to position yourself so that your message gets seen, heard and respected first. That's why the focusing needs to be on positioning first. (The alternative is what we see every day: experts yelling, shouting, screaming their message and people turning them off).
Where can you start?
Let's talk about 3 solid, time-tested pillars.
Pillar # 1 - The Power Of Authorship
Nothing says "Leading Authority" (valuable, relevant, credible resource) more than a book. We are conditioned to see it this way. We even say "she wrote the book about the subject".
Before you spend years of your life writing a book and hoping that will make you a "celebrity" in your field, let's clarify a couple of things.
1. It has to be the right kind of book (to position you as a valuable, relevant, credible resource).
2. It has to get published, which means that it needs to be finished and cannot be an eternal project.
3. It has to be the bridge for you to reach your best clients/patients/students.
Basically, it has to be a book you can be proud of because it is a valuable, relevant resource. (Many people who try to "manufacture authority" will go for "any book" so that you can call yourself a "published author". That won't work for many obvious reasons that we don't really need to point out here).
Pitfall To Be Avoided - It cannot be a "pitch book" either. Remember how we've said that will position someone as a person to be "avoided"? It can and should be a book that positions you and your work right in the mind of your audience and gives your best people a reason to choose you because they see the value of what you have to offer.
Pillar # 2 - The Power Of The Media
"Celebrities" know how to get powerful hosts like Oprah, Jimmy Kimmel and Howard Stern to recommend their movies because they understand the power of the media for credibility and trust. You should leverage the power of the media for the same reason: it is not you saying that you are an expert, it is a credible source choosing to display news about you.
Pillar # 3 - The Power Of Your Online Presence
A good starting point is your website and social media presence. (Remember that everybody googles and people have started to make decisions based on what they see about what category they should position you in). We have all heard about the power of first impressions. Your online presence is your chance to instantly position yourself as a Leading Authority (a valuable, relevant, credible resource) in their mind. We’re talking about the kind of Leadership that magnetically draws people to want to be in your world and makes them choose to work with you. We’re talking about the positioning that makes you stand out and eliminates any need to compete on price. We’re not talking about bragging or calling yourself an expert or a “thought leader”. Don’t you actually hate it when people do that?
A "pesky" myth - Visibility is not about being everywhere, even though this is the myth being propagated. When an expert (and business owner) tries to be everywhere, they get this feeling of spinning their wheels without actually going where they want to go. Being everywhere, especially on social media, if people ignore what they have to say is useless and sometimes harmful.
The first step is that you see yourself fully the real value of your work and from that realization you develop your positioning strategy.
See you soon. Till next time… remember your awesomeness is portable. You can take it with you anywhere.