There’s Always Time to Differentiate

With so many distractions these days, from finding, then getting, the vaccine to staying true to all our Zoom/Teams calls to following up with colleagues and especially clients, who has time to differentiate themselves?

Answer?

ALL OF US DO. AND WE MUST!

Don’t Dilute Your Personal Brand

You are unique. You have ideas no one else may ever have. You’re not a commodity, replaced easily by someone who bases their value on price, right? Of course you’re not. However, in these times when we are physically disconnected from clients, the trap of just “getting stuff done” and maintaining the basics is diluting our personal brands, that which differentiates us.

Each time I address this action with clients I also address it for myself. In a recent post, I wrote about the importance of being relational and declarative. Now, go the next step and make sure they understand that you are, simply, the best! And here are some tips to accomplish that goal:

Tips for Differentiation

  • Each call is special. As my father, a surgeon, said, “No two patients are the same. You never treat one the same as the other.” That’s so true with clients. Never treat them the same. On every call, they should feel like they are your ONLY client, even though they know it’s not true. Having them feel that way is good enough and creates a strong, unique connection.
  • Listen as though you’re wrong. I’m amazed at the level of curiosity I can have on any client call. I’m not on auto-pilot. I’m genuinely curious about someone’s life, what’s dear to them, and what I can learn from them. This way of interacting makes things so much more interesting…for both of us!
  • Deliver your recommendations as though they’re your last. Minus the drama of that statement, deliver your ideas/recommendations with heart and passion. You’ll be remembered for both!
  • Resolve questions/objections calmly. In high school, Ms. Lynn was my honors English teacher. The class was a challenge for me but as I watched her smooth, calm, focused delivery I actually took many of her behaviors with me to this day. Nothing phased her, no matter how exasperating our questions might have been. I’ve adopted that behavior and impart it to my clients, encouraging them to have a “no problem” attitude.
  • Be persistent, yet likable. There’s no substitute for this behavior. When you believe something is right for a client or someone on your team, stay in front of them with empathy and confidence.
  • Always think long-term. People who operate from a place of “I’ll get this one thing done to keep my client happy and off my back” usually wind up losing them. Steer your relationships as though you’ll be working with this person/client until you retire. You are in it for the long haul and they should know that.
  • Stay friends with everyone. Burnt bridges can never be crossed again. You’ve nurtured these relationships for a long time, right? Then why give them up, even if professionally they end. I have 20+ year friendships with former clients who I call upon often for input/insight…and they do the same with me. Even after we’ve stopped working together, I’m still differentiating myself by staying connected.

You are different. And you clients need to know that…and be reminded of it often. Use these tips to accomplish that goal. Let me know how it goes!

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