I want to encourage you to take a stand! To climb onto your soapbox! Huh? Let me show you how it makes you stand up and stand apart from all your competition.
Remember a couple of years ago, when we were in the middle of the election season? Well, one sunny day, an older gentleman showed up at my front door and asked if I would give my vote to him. Not knowing him and anxious to learn everything I could about our local municipal politics, I politely asked him why I should consider him.
“Because I have been married for 45 years, I have three kids, and I have lived here all my life.” I smiled weakly and followed up with, so, what will you do for our neighbourhood or our city? “I have been a councillor for more than 35 years, so I have a solid track record.”
My point is
The straightforward question asked – why should I consider you? – is precisely the same question; each one of us must answer every time we bump into a prospect. Whether we have been in business for one month, six months or even fifty years.
And what appears to be straightforward — why should I consider you? — assuredly is NOT. Because what we want to know are several different things simultaneously. Are you like me? Do your values match mine? Are you going to fix MY problem or make MY life better? Can I trust that you will do what you say? How long will it take you to deliver what you say? How much of my time do you expect from me?
You already know that the human attention span is now less than 8 seconds. Eight seconds is all the time we have to make an impression. Before we get tuned out and ignored. Can YOU honestly say that you maximize those 8 seconds?
Lately, I have spent a lot of time with clients about their messaging. I have also done a whole whack of research. Here’s the truth.
Only 10% of us maximize our 8 seconds
That means 90% of us FAIL to hold the other person’s attention. 90% of us block the road we need to take to have the right conversations. 90% of us don’t get to the order stage in a natural and painless fashion.
One superb way to hold attention is to take a stand. What is the one thing you could spend hours talking about on a soapbox in a public square? (I am not expecting you to actually do it. Merely hoping you can imagine ‘what if I could.’)
I very much doubt you can talk all day about the product or service you sell. And I highly doubt you can wax poetic for more than 10 minutes about all the ways you deliver fantastic customer service. Plus I know you can’t fill more than maybe an hour with tales about your experience, your years of service and your fabulous team.
Take a Stand
Even if your stand is a tad oddball (like you think climate change can not be mitigated in any way with clean energy), the whole point is YOU stand out.
YOU are different from your competition. And YOU are worthy of having an extended conversation — with similar thinking people.
Standing out and standing apart is the easiest way for people to decide to work with you. (Are you like me? Do your values match mine?) Taking a stand on a problem is significantly different from the product you are hawking. (Are you going to fix my problem or make my life better?) And it gets to the heart of who you are. (Can I trust what you say?) This allows for a more extended conversation. (How long will it take you to deliver what you say? And how much time will you expect of me?)
These days, many business owners and entrepreneurs are very comfortable sharing their opinions on potentially contentious issues like politics, religion and sex. Yet, those same people turn into milk toast when encouraged to take a stand and show their passion, their humanness and their vulnerability in public.
The truth is — our passion, our humanness and our vulnerability, IN PUBLIC, is what attracts the right prospects to us. It is what makes the sales part super easy. And it is what helps cement the relationships we have with those fantastic clients.
Here is my soapbox stand. “People first; profits second. Business is Sexy. Joy is Everywhere.” Let me know what yours is, okay?
Want some help nailing your soapbox stand? Find the right time for you.
By the way, I voted for the woman with no previous experience in politics. Because she talked about what it would mean for the community if she was in charge. Because she demonstrated in just a few words, she cared. I have been blown away by her energy and her activism.