Professional services marketing begins with finding your niche and developing services to service your niche. While browsing the forums, I came across a life coach who was having trouble finding her niche.
With the coach’s permission, I created this video, based on a real question, my real answer and her very real thank you message.
What do you think … what are your questions about finding your own niche?
Today’s Guest Post was written by Melanie Yost. Melanie uses a vivid metaphor to demonstrate a critical idea.
My favorite professor in Graduate School had a simple but profound approach to working with people. His theory was that people were either wrapped too tight or wrapped too loose. He believed that if they were wrapped too tight, his job was to help loosen them up and if they were wrapped too loose, his job was to help tighten them up. This theory resonated with me and I have incorporated it into my helping style.
The goal is not so much about changing people as it is about helping them find balance. This is as true in business as it is in life. Being out of balance in one direction or another creates frustration and stuck places in your business. Let’s see if you can identify which one describes you.
People who are wrapped too loose are often highly creative and prefer their time to be unstructured. They are comfortable with letting the process unfold and not needing to know the next step. They like to keep their options open and are really good at going with the flow and being spontaneous. They are powerful visionaries who are capable of seeing the big picture and using their imagination to create an amazing vision of what they want their life and their business to be. Unfortunately, they have difficulty moving forward and manifesting this vision because they struggle with staying focused, setting priorities, making a plan, coming to a decision, following through, getting organized, setting boundaries and saying “no”.
People who are wrapped too tight are often high achievers. Once they understand what options are available, they are comfortable making a decision, creating a plan and taking action. They are comfortable with schedules, structure, practical solutions and concrete results. They tend to be analytical in their approach to business and life, basing their goals on what they know and what they think they can achieve. When things don’t go according to plan, they can become stuck and frustrated because they have difficulty relaxing, tuning into their inner wisdom, being spontaneous, going with the flow, letting the process unfold, using their imagination, thinking outside of the box, feeling out of control and giving themselves a break.
Soooo . . . . which one sounds like you? If you say “both” it’s probably because you have done a lot of work to achieve balance. Which one is your inherent nature? I am naturally wrapped too tight and have spent the last 20 years learning how to loosen up so that I can trust in to my internal wisdom, use my imagination, think outside the box, get comfortable with mystery, quite my mind, give myself a break and have balance in my life.
Once you know which way you are wrapped and what your challenges are, you can find the mentors, solutions and accountability to get you unstuck and using your energy in positive and productive ways in your business. Very few coaches and mentors work well with both dispositions. I have come to the realization that my brilliance is working with the wrapped too tight people. I know when to push and hold them accountable and when to give them permission to give themselves a break. I know how to help them access their inner wisdom, over come their fears and teach them how to integrate complex spiritual concepts into their business in a way that satisfies their analytical minds.
I also encourage you to look at your clients and notice if most of them are wrapped too tight or too loose. Which category do you attract? Which one do you most enjoy working with? Does the focus of your work help people tighten up or loosen up? This awareness will help you clarify your target market, position your products and services to address pains and problems and refine your marketing message.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article.
Intro note: Perry Marshall, the Google Adwords guru, writes frankly and wisely on many topics. This recent article sent a message that contradicts a lot of what we hear. It’s so important that I got permission to use it here, with my affiliate link to Perry’s site. I own several of his materials and he’s the real deal.
“Anyone Can Do It” by Perry Marshall
Any time someone says to you, “Absolutely anybody can do this” you need to hang on to your pocketbook.
I do not believe that “anybody can do…” any specific thing. At least not to a level that the world is going to richly reward.
Let’s take some of the stuff I teach. Can anyone build a Google campaign, write ads that get clicks and make their CTR’s get better and better with testing?
Sure they can.
Can anyone and everyone expertly build and manage $20,000 of clicks each month?
No. At least I don’t think so.
The extraordinarily successful people in the Adwords game are the ones who somehow ‘crawl inside’ of the campaign and feel what all those numbers and columns mean… who are able to sense what those visitors are clicking on and why. They can look at somebody’s ad campaign and in 10 seconds know whether it’s put together right, or not. Those are the ones who manage $10,000 or $100,000 of clicks every month and make it profitable.
There’s the doing of the thing, and then there’s the Art Factor. The Art Factor comes into play when your heart and soul get connected to it, when you are able to crawl inside the thing and live in it and breathe it. If you can do that, you can pick up the art factor. Then you can master it.
One of my favorite scientists is Barbara McClintock. McClintock was a biologist who made startling discoveries that scientists are still ignoring today, 50 years later.
McClintock discovered that DNA, the helix that contains the instructions for assembling your body, is intelligent. It has the ability to re-engineer itself on the fly – in fact it’s literally pre-programmed to re-program itself. This discovery was so radical that they thought she was crazy at the time and her insights are mostly dismissed even now. But McClintock was perhaps the first to understand that living things are organized by information.
The title of her biography “A Feeling for the Organism” refers to her ability to seemingly crawl down through her microscope and get inside the cell – not just observing what was visible, but what was implied.
Forty years later she claimed the Nobel Prize for science.
What world are YOU able to crawl inside of? Can you crawl inside your customers’ minds that way? Can you imagine you’re a web page, readers listening as you talk to them and you know how they’re answering back? Can you become so absorbed with your customers that you become one with them?
Whatever microscope is so fascinating to you that you can crawl down inside it and imagine yourself living down there – if it’s an audience that has money to give – that’s the way you’re gonna make a million dollars.
Will “absolutely anybody” be able to do what you do? Not on your life. You can’t buy marketing for your business on a showroom floor the way you buy a car. USP’s don’t just roll off assembly lines every 45 seconds. There will be few who can rival you. And nobody will be able to sell somebody a road map to your pot of gold for $49.95 either.
If I could encourage you in any way possible, it would be this: To be patient with yourself as you explore and unfold the unique giftings that you alone possess, and to wrap those gifts and talents into your products, the services you offer, and your marketing, so that NO ONE can knock you off.
The world will richly reward you for fulfilling that vision.
There are plenty of cubicle drones and paint-by-numbers people in the world… I hope you’ll aspire to put out some of your own original pizzazz, put your own fingerprints on what you do. Do the thing that you alone can do.
Many business leaders see Jeff Bezos as the successor to Steve Jobs as the top leader of American business. In this Forbes article, Bezos shares 12 business strategies that would be extremely valuable to any of our businesses. You can read the original article here: http://onforb.es/IecA49
For example –
“Determine what your customers need and work backwards.” We could put this on a sticky note on our computers and reaview it every day.
“If you want to be inventive you have to be willing to fail.”
“This is Day 1 for the Internet. We still have so much to learn.”
Some of these strategies seem to conflict with what we’re hearing from the gurus, such as “There are two kinds of companies: those that try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.” However, I think he’s not suggesting that everyone should charge less: he’s advocating that we take a position and be clear on it.
Just as a reminder … if you’d like your own customized “standout strategy,” check out the Marketing Strategy Consultation here.
The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone definitely is inspiring and worth reading.
The author’s main point deserves recognition: Most success comes after a LOT more investment of energy, time and resources than we expect at the outset. I’m reminded of Pat Summitt, the Lady Vols basketball coach; in one of her books she wrote something to the effect of, “We will win because we will out-work you.”
In my experience, an equally big question is, “How will you spend your time?”
You can work ten times as hard as your competition, but you can still suffer mediocrity when you (a) choose a goal that’s not in line with your strengths and values, (b) take action that will not lead you to your goal or (c) take actions that *would* lead you to a realistic goal but botch the execution.
The late Lynn Grabhorn, author of Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting, warned against the danger of what she called “heigh-ho silvering,” dashing around taking action without reflecting on the purpose of all that activity. It is all to easy to mistake “keeping busy” for “accomplishing actions that lead to goals.”
I’d have expected Cardone to talk more about focus and setting priorities *before* entering into massive activity. Cardone hints at the need for identifying appropriate goals but focuses more on numbers and action.
In all fairness, this focus is reasonable. I’ve heard several coaches say, “Most people know *what* to do and how to do it, but they won’t take the actions they know they need.” Still, I’ve seen people fail because they’re totally inexperienced or naive about the “how” as well as the “what.”
Cardone points out that commitment to success includes a “whatever it takes” clause, but not everyone understands what that means. He suggests cutting out television, oversleeping, and similar activities, but there’s a finer line when it comes to working out or spending time on recreational activities to recharge your batteries. Some people work best as distance runners while others get there as sprinters.
Finally, Cardone emphasizes taking control of one’s environment. I strongly agree with his response to challenging situations. Ask, “What could I do to keep this from happening again?” and focus on how to respond. He offers some good suggestions for writing down goals – nothing really new, but requires some determination.
Some readers will be disturbed by Cardone’s approach to marketing. Do an excellent job of increasing your customer volume and good customer service will follow naturally. We all know companies and services that market themselves brilliantly but fail to deliver at the same level. Sadly, some inferior products and services succeed because they were marketed so well; Cardone cites the common example of Apple vs Microsoft.
I definitely agree with Cardone’s suggestion to spend time with successful people, as it’s easy to get deflected by criticism and disparaging remarks. However, I was amused by his suggestion to ignore criticism.
Despite these comments, I am actively recommending this book to colleagues and Facebook friends. The author’s energy is contagious. His “take no prisoners” attitude to success will inspire many readers. Click here to order via my Amazon link.