You already know you need to create value for your customer or prospect. You also may know you have to find a way to communicate that value to your customer in a way that will resonate with their deepest needs.
However, you may have overlooked a very important component in this increasingly complicated equation of marketing your business.
In the futuristic sci-fi film, “The Matrix,” a woman called “The Oracle” gave wise advice to the film’s hero, Neo. Neo was told that he would free the human race from the control of the machines, which had enslaved it.
But before she delivers her news, she points to a sign above her kitchen entryway. It says Temet Nosce – Latin for “know thyself.” She then goes on to say that when you are in love, no one can tell you whether you are or you aren’t. You just know. And it’s the same for knowing your purpose.
You just know.
But how do you go about knowing yourself?
Do you give yourself the time and effort to know who you are?
Or are you so focused on pursuing the knowledge of your industry and its marketing trends that you missed the right turn on Knowing You Avenue?
Value Beyond Platitudes
The Millennials aren’t the only ones who can spout positive-thinking statements about themselves. These types of affirmations have been around for some time.
I collect and savor my successes today.
I anticipate great good and open my heart to it.
Feeling good about oneself is part of the success equation, but it won’t do much during an important meeting with a prospect.
Prospects and customers don’t really care how you feel about yourself. Sure, they’d rather deal with someone who is positive and cheerful, but ultimately they’re looking for what they can get out of the deal.
Which brings us to what really creates value.
Know Your Strengths
I recently bought the book, Stand Out: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment form the Leader of the Strengths Revolution by Marcus Buckingham.
Although not a new book, it has captured my mind and heart. I’ve been recommending it to my friends, family, and business associates ever since I’ve read it.
The book comes with a code to take an online assessment (you want to buy a new version, a used copy will likely have the code already taken and you can only use the code once).
I admit I’m very analytical. And I’ve been analyzing why this particular book, that came into my life at this particular time, has made such an impact.
I discovered the book through a productivity course I was taking. And it seemed just by chance that the instructor discovered the book through someone he knew. So the book wasn’t even part of the course, he just threw it out there to help us figure out how to be productive.
I find it fascinating how the path of discovery often happens by “chance.”
I’ve taken assessments before, but this assessment was the first time I felt that I understood my value.
I clearly saw, in a very practical way, the value I bring to the world.
And this is the point: In order for you to communicate your differentiators to your customer, you first have to know what they are.
And the value that you bring to your customer is usually something within you.
For “solopreneurs,” this is especially true.
But even if you’re working for a large company, these differentiators are transferred through a larger understanding of the corporate brand.
When all is said and done, we basically offer the same products and the same type of service.
What differentiates you from your competition is how you offer the same product and service.
Apple offers elegantly designed electronics. Virgin Atlantic Airways offers world-class customer service with their flights. And you offer something just as magnificent. You just need to know exactly what it is and then weave that magnificence throughout your marketing.
Defining Value Takes Time
Discovering your strengths may take some time but it is well worth it.
Because once you discover what you’re really good at doing, what in essence is your gift to the world, then you’ll be on your way to really knowing how to let others know the value you bring to the table.
You may take your strengths for granted. You may think that everyone knows how to do what you do, but it isn’t true. Not everyone knows and there are many who will pay you well for doing what you do because either they can’t do it or they don’t have the time to do it.
The other aspect of this pursuit is that it’s up to you to discover them. Rarely will anyone tell you what your strengths are. I know. I’ve tried. Asking those who know me best to share the strengths they observe in me was an exercise in futility.
My friends, family, and acquaintances care about me, but defining strengths is not an easy charge. Sure, I get along with most people, but is that really a strength? With an assessment like the one in Stand Out, I finally was able to identify the lens I use to view the world and how that can help others.
So still read the books and articles on creating value for your customers but realize that the winds are changing. It’s not just about the product. It’s about relationships and what you bring to them.
And the most important relationship you will ever have, is with yourself. Get that one right and everything else will fall into place.