I was recently asked to recommend an accountant and naturally I approached someone who had recently helped me. She is in great demand and was not able to take on more business. So she declined the introduction. I could not think of an alternative - sadly they all provide the same narrative. They focus on what they do - Accounts and all sound the same.
So how are you any different?
In 2023 we face a marketplace where professionals are plentiful and competencies often overlap, one's service is not the sole, nor the most vital, component of their business identity. More than just what you do, it's who you work with that holds transformative power—a truth ever apparent to the discerning client.
Clients, after all, are buying outcomes, not services. They are investing in what remains after your work is complete: the enhanced web presence, the compelling brand narrative, or the streamlined operational process. They are seeking someone who understands their unique landscape, pain points, and aspirations.
For example, picture two photographers. One introduces herself as a portrait photographer. The other, though, reveals that she captures images for emerging fashion designers, providing them with artful shots that celebrate and promote the uniqueness of their creations. It’s clear whose approach is more compelling.
It’s less about the act of taking photos and more about the narrative she is contributing to.
To further illustrate the transformative power of the who, consider these refined points:
1. Types of Results You Achieve:
– Your Signature Impact: Rather than saying, "I craft marketing strategies," share that you have a history of elevating local artisans into loved brands with a devoted customer base.
2. The Problems You Solve:
– Your Unique Value: Be more than a financial advisor; be the architect of retirement dreams for dedicated teachers who have spent their lives nurturing future generations.
3. The Characteristics of Your Client:
– Your Ideal Collaborator: Be selective and explicit. If you’re a content creator who thrives when working with socially responsible enterprises, say so. This selectivity is itself a form of expertise.
Colleagues and associates often ask me for referrals and I think in narratives, not in job titles. I recall the developer who is a master at helping healthcare providers transition to telemedicine platforms, not merely a list of coding languages.
In summary, shifting from what you do to who you work with is not simply a change in pitch. It’s a strategic, thoughtful repositioning—a move from being a line item on an invoice to a key player in a client's success narrative.
The marketplace is teeming with options, your relationships, the results you deliver, and the unique story you weave are your defining edges. It’s not solely about your service; it’s about the unique world that the service operates within, the specific problems it solves, and the distinct people it serves exceptionally well.
I guess we have to have the courage to stand out as being different and more honest in who we serve best.