How to Inspire Your Clients to Say, "You're It."
When I first started my business, I overdid it a bit: I started an obsessive, weeks-long audit of every significant player in my space. I researched, bookmarked, and studied everyone who even slightly inspired me, trying to gather a loose blueprint of what they were doing right so I could avoid the pitfalls and learn ALL the lessons (I told you my Virgo-ness sometimes gets the best of me, didn’t I?). I created a litany of theories as to why some businesses seemed to be exploding while others were floundering.
I thought maybe it was because their videography, photography, and branding were incredibly polished (that was a small part of it, but not the reason why).
I thought perhaps it was the volume of content they had already produced (again, yes, part of it, but..)
Then I thought it was because the content and tone of their Instagram posts, blogs, and podcasts were so edgy and tight (Hmmm…not exactly).
It may be seem obvious, of course, but I was completely missing the big picture.
I look at those same “big players” now and realize I was having a ‘forest from the trees’ moment that only time and experience could remedy.
While there was no avoiding the pitfalls or the mistakes, here are some of the big things that I missed (that may seem like small things (but are actually quite large things)):
Stop Reading Blogs. And yes, it’s weird that I should be saying this…on my blog (the Blog Gods will surely smite me).
The heavy hitters in your industry are probably doing a great job with their outreach. My request to you is to stay totally and completely away from them. Sometimes, we can be influenced into thinking that there is a certain way of doing things (oy, I certainly was), but in reality, these successful entrepreneurs owe a lot to one thing: being uniquely themselves. We’re all a little weird, embarrassing, and unpolished (see accompanying photos for examples). Being normal and real without trying to be someone else’s version of “normal and real” resonates with people and helps you stand out by being perfectly yourself. As Marvin Gaye said, it’s all you need to get by.
Don’t Assume. We think we know what our client base wants because we’ve often been working alongside them for years or we were them at some point. My second request is for you to give that entire belief up and instead assume you know nothing (Jon Snow). Our untested assumptions keep our understanding of our client space shallow and stagnated, never moving past the limits of our imagination and experience. The cure is obvious: just go ask your ideal clients. Ask them everything and anything, and be prepared to be surprised and for goodness sake, please take advantage of that golden information.
Stop Selling. This week, I had two different people (one was a client, the other a potential client) tell me that they wanted to work with me not because I “sold” them, but precisely because I didn’t. Instead, I gave away content from my program because I could hear they needed it. I wasn’t tight-fisted about the time I spent with them because I truly wanted them to succeed. I didn’t strong-arm them into a sale because I personally really really HATE being strong-armed myself. I partnered and advocated for them because that’s what I do for all of my clients. My only goal is to create a powerful experience. From their feedback, they got it. (And, even if they didn’t, I’m creating a powerful experience for myself and taking a stand for whats important for me).
In reality, this may look like a list, but it’s more of a philosophy. If you’re really, honestly connecting to others on a daily basis and listening to what they’re saying, you’ll know it, they’ll feel it, and you’ll create results. The rest is just the hard work of creating opportunities to make that happen.
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