Back by popular demand after his first guest post, 'Why Every Solo Needs To Find Her Brand" is copywriter and branding expert James Chartrand of Men with Pens. Today he discusses the importance of understanding yourself in order to create your brand and set you apart from the pack.
Guest Blogger - James Chartrand
7 Questions that Can Attract the Right Clients
You know that the competition is stiff. You realize you have to stand out from the crowd to make it these days. With the professional world relaxing, it seems viable, too. You play up a little more of your personality and use that as a marketing tool.
That's branding. That's creating an image for yourself that you can use to appeal to a specific market.
Decide Who You Are
Alright, it's a given that you're Professional Extraordinaire. That's great, but so what? Everyone else is saying the same thing. There's no reason for a person to hire you over the next Extraordinaire vying for clients.
You have to look at what makes you different from everyone else, and much of that begins with deciding who you are. Your personality is unique, there's no doubt about that. There's also no reason to try to fit your personality into the generic traditional mold.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my values? What do I believe in?
- What makes me feel good? What do I not enjoy?
- What image do I want to portray to people beyond being the best?
- What makes me different from everyone else?
- What value do I offer to potential clients?
- What type of personality do I have?
- What type of person do I like to work with?
A little introspection on these questions helps identify the answers that feel most comfortable – and if you're comfortable with the answers, you'll easily be able to convey these concepts to others.
That's what makes you different.
Why Being You Works
Branding is that easy – letting yourself be yourself, no matter who you are or what your profession might be. Trying to fit into some idealized mold of a traditional corporate lawyer doesn't fit many people and it also turns off potential clients.
That's key – being you turns clients on. They resonate with your personality. They identify with who you are, because they see themselves in you. After a meeting, they might say, "Wow, he's great – and he's just like me!"
People – your clients – align themselves with others that they can identify with and relate to the most. If they feel some bond of interests, likes or personality, they'll naturally want to choose you over the competition.
Of course, your clients respect your knowledge and trust your skills, too. The point is that they know that there are plenty of other professionals who have just as much knowledge (or more) and that those professionals are highly skilled, too – just like you are.
But you're different. You're just like them.
Reaching the Right People
The added advantage of branding yourself effectively with your own personal flavor is that clients will gravitate to you – and you to them. You will naturally attract people that feel you are just like them, and you'll discover that they're just like you in turn.
What does that mean? That means you'll be working with people you enjoy more than others, people you find interesting or ones who make your job a pleasure.
True, this does mean that the individuals who aren't really like you and don't enjoy your style are going to go elsewhere. But the people who do like you and the ones you get along with the most will come to you.
Now all you have to do is a great job. You'll gain their trust – and a few referrals when they tell their friends about you. Sound like a good deal? It is.
And all you had to do was be you.
Is That All There Is?
Is branding yourself using your personality all you have to do to attract new clients? No, of course not; if only business was that simple.
Plenty of other marketing strategies can further your particular branding to set yourself apart from the competition. Many can be quite fun. Some are obvious (and often forgotten). Some are basic lessons that every new professional needs to learn to make it today.
But giving yourself permission to be yourself, no matter what your profession, is a great head start. Shed your preconceived notions that you have to fit your personality into a stiff mold. Your profession is already regimented enough as it is.
Be you, and use your qualities and values as your biggest asset. Market those assets, and start showing people what makes you different.