Everyone makes an impact each time they meet someone, undertake a task, work on a project. What is your impact? Is it positive? Do you have leadership abilities? What impression do you make?
You can be the best at what you do and still not find the success you want if your ideal clients or you boss doesn’t see or hear you or think of you as the solution they need. Maybe they see you but can’t distinguish you from your competition or your coworkers. Maybe you are passed over for opportunity. Shockingly, you have about 7 seconds to be seen, heard & recognized as the solutions your client or boss is looking for.
Today, we all need to think about how we can stand out. I call it a Superpower. It is a sustainable competitive advantage that is attractive to your clients, your boss and gets their attention. This isn’t just for business owners. If you work as an employee in a position where you are responsible for bringing business in or keeping customers happy you need it too. This is especially true if you work in a field where it is hard for the consumer to differentiate you from others that do what you do such as RE agents, Financial Planners, Insurance Agents, Attorneys or Home Health Aides. You need to give the consumer a way to recognize you as the person that will be the best choice to work with.
Attention spans today are short, very short. People are busy. The communication landscape is crowded. Every time you speak about yourself and your business at meetings or networking events, you face three threats:
- Failure to Show Uniqueness
You probably have many competitors, more than you realize. When it comes to communication, a competitor is anyone who is talking to the same person you are about making a decision to work with you, maybe about spending their hard earned money. It is more than just your direct competitors, the people and firms that do what you do. Let’s look at an example. If a potential client only has $100 of discretionary income this week, they can choose to spend it on a manicure, a movie, dinner out with friends or on your products and services. All of those businesses are in competition for that $100. You need to be heard so you can be in their decision making process.
You only have a few seconds to communicate what you do and why people should pay attention to you before they are distracted by life. The average time you have to grab someone’s interest is about 7 seconds. During that 7 seconds they are listening and deciding whether they should spend any of their limited time learning more about you. There are so many distractions today. We are all tethered to our smart phones and other devices that have us connected to everything 24/7. After that 7 seconds, they will be distracted by something else and if you haven’t captured their attention, you most likely have missed that opportunity.
Failure to Show Uniqueness
When you speak about yourself or your business, do you say the same things as everyone else in your industry? Do you use the same words or phrases, have the same or similar services and hold the same credentials? How are you different from others that do what you do? Why should a prospect or your boss choose you? Failure to give those you speak to a way to grasp how you are different, better or how you solve their particular dilemma will result in being forgettable. Being forgettable won’t get you business growth and success. Be memorable, not forgettable.
When you struggle with how you introduce yourself and your company or you go over the time you are given trying to explain what you do, the impression you leave may be that you are unsure, inexperienced or perhaps not as skilled as a competitor. You may just leave people confused and they will probably just tune out. Perception is everything. Make the right first impression. Say what you need to say concisely and confidently.
So how do you get your 7 seconds of attention and make it count? There are 5 things you need to communicate about you and your business when you introduce yourself.
- Your Name
- Your Business Name
- Who You Help and What Problem You Solve
- The Value You Bring
- Why You Do What You Do
We always start with our name and our firm’s name when we introduce ourselves. Your introduction should be all about your audience, not you. What is in it for them? There is a formula for getting your points made and in the right order, making your introduction compelling and getting it communicated in just a few seconds. People don’t remember names so we need to start with an attention grabbing statement first. Once you have their attention, tell them why they should listen by communicating the problem you solve and the value you bring. If they like what they hear or it is pertinent to them, they may just remember your name.
If you would like the formula, click the button below for a free worksheet and examples so you can create your introduction for meetings and networking events so you can make the impact you want.
As long as the concept of a job has existed, the definition around what you can do to earn a living has been defined by others using a process that has been the same for decades. Your options are limited by the parameters of a job description: a definition that consists of a job title, a list of tasks to be performed and the skills, experience and personality traits needed to perform those tasks successfully.
There is a salary range for that job description. It is a number based on the skills and experience required balanced against the budget the firm has to fill the position. The budget may or may not reflect the realities of the marketplace or the value of the contribution the employee will actually make to the company.
It is reasonably common to see new employees hired at the low end of a salary range so they will have a chance “to grow” within the company. However, raises have been small in recent years, even nonexistent, because there is a perception that we have little or no inflation. I guess those that have created that perception do not purchase gas, food, healthcare, appliances, cars or homes.
There are unwritten rules around salary increases when you change positions by moving to a new firm. “How much are you making now?” you are asked. That is factored in to what you will be offered because no company wants to pay you more than they have to in order to bring you on board, no matter what the job is worth. If you are making $70,000 as an example and the range for the job you apply for is $85,000 – $100,000, you will probably be offered $75,000, $80,000 if you are lucky, because someone, somewhere decided it wasn’t healthy to get too large a salary bump at one time. Again, someone else deciding what your talent is worth based on outdated thinking. You probably won’t notice because you are thrilled to get a long overdue increase.
Your career and your earning power in a traditional job is limited by someone elses definition of what you are worth. We accept that as fact and we live with it. We need to earn a living and our options are to start our own business or take a job working for someone else. Starting your own business isn’t for everyone, although more and more people are taking this option, some with success, most not. But there is something you can do to increase your odds of staying gainfully employed at a salary that is based on the value you bring to the firm you work for rather than a somewhat arbitrary number decided by someone else.
To increase your earning power, you need to develop the ability to take a new view of yourself, understand the value you bring and how to communicate it to a prospective employer in a compelling way that will impact their thinking. It requires that you begin to think of yourself and your skills differently and be able to help your prospective employer think differently too. It is our acceptance, even dependence on these old paradigms and unwritten rules that is keeping us limited. The paradigms around “the job” have been around longer than you have. The thinking has to change but company thinking won’t change until we do.
If you are interested in talking more about your career limitations, I would love to have a conversation with you. Fill out the Contact form on our website to schedule a conversation.