Last post, I mentioned how it makes me crazy when you start any kind of marketing training and boom, before anything else, you’re being asked who your audience is and what they want.
What makes me crazy about that is that it just assumes that you know what you’re here to offer and what you have to say. It assumes you’re just going to say “oh, I offer . . . “ — toothpaste, or dry cleaning, or home repair, or weight loss support. Or whatever it is you offer.
But we live in a day and age where many of us are offering things that aren’t so easy to name: personal growth, spiritual transformation, changing perspective, meaning, self-discovery, hope.
And even if you kind of know what you’re offering, or you know the form of what you’re offering (coaching sessions, retreats, hand analysis sessions, info products), you actually may not quite know the essence of what you’re offering.
You may not be able to name what people get to feel and experience at the deepest level through your work and why it matters.
And the truth is, that if you don’t know the essence of what you’re here to offer, it’s actually hard to know who your audience is.
Think about that for a moment.
If you can’t say “this is what I bring to the table” how could you possibly explore who might want it and who would value it enough to pay for it?
And then even if you manage to figure out who your audience is and what they want, you’re either told “ok, great, just tell your audience that that’s what you’re going to give them.”
And if you’re one of my peeps, you stop and you think “well, wait a minute, I just tell people I’ll give them what they want?”
Ok, you should do that, but that’s not ALL you should do.
As my dad the mathematician might say, telling your audience you can solve their problem is NECESSARY but not SUFFICIENT.
Which in plain English means, sure, it’s a good thing to do but by itself, it won’t get you what you want.
If that’s all you know how to say (“over here, I can solve your problem! Really I can! Of course, no one has shown me how to write and speak about how I do that so you believe me. And I sound like the 300 other people who have targeted you and are promising more or less the same thing, but hey, trust me, I really know what I am doing!”), you usually don’t have enough weight or power in your words to be credible or to stand out from the crowd.
Or maybe, the people leading your training say, “ok, now that you’ve told people you can solve their problem, here’s the place where you say what you do.”
Because I know, I know that for most of the people who end up working with me, they’re saying “but that’s what I came to you to figure out! I know what it is but I don’t know how to say it!”
My client Pam who does amazing heart-centered work with expatriates to feel more at home said this recently about her experience going through the training:
To be honest, your course is the first business development course that I’ve taken that I feel has “hit the spot” and is working for me. Most other business communication classes begin at the mid-point of your training, without the groundwork in message development that your program provides. Without a message that is both deeply anchored and articulated, it has been impossible for me to reap the full benefits of other trainings. It is impressive how the process of putting words to something anchors it so firmly and generates more confidence.
You see, most of these trainings come from the perspective that you are in business to make money and that what you do in your business is secondary. A friend of mine said recently that her internet marketing mentor says “If your audience wants hamburgers, give them hamburgers.”
I know where that comes from but it makes me profoundly sad.
There’s nothing wrong with giving your audience hamburgers, unless you were brought here to give people lentil burgers, or ostrich burgers, or crazy hybrid Asian/Mideastern falafel.
It’s just that selling those in a world where most people say they want hamburgers is SCARY. It’s less certain, it’s less predictable.
So we listen and think, “ok, I’d better sell hamburgers.” And then, we usually don’t do that as well as someone who was truly brought to the planet to sell hamburgers.
You aren’t just here to use your talents and gifts to give people what one hundred others can. You are here to use your talents and gifts to give people what no one else can.
And naming and claiming what that thing is takes some soul searching and some work.
But not that much time in the scheme of things.
How to Use This Today.
Make a list of 3 or 5 times in your life that you were kicking ass and taking names.
Doing amazing work (whether or not you got paid for it), or even just finding a bright spot of joy in an otherwise dismal job. Where you had one conversation with someone that changed their life.
Where you were making some kind of meaningful difference.
Feeling alive and connected and in the flow with what you were doing.
Write a few sentences or a paragraph about each one, digging deep into the layers of what you were really doing and why it mattered.
Look for common threads.
Not generalities like “I was learning,” or “I inspired them,” but getting specific, like, “I helped them see many more options than they’d seen before,” or “I spoke to the part of them that was strong and confident,” or “I helped them synthesize information so they could actually use it.”
Not so much about what you got to experience (“I was recognized,” “I was included,”) but what you helped create for someone else or what you were trying to create for yourself.
Ok, you’re getting close. The shape of what you’re here to do should be starting to emerge.
Marketing training is a beautiful thing. Smart business owners listen and pay attention to what their audience wants.
But your audience can’t give you your voice. Can’t put words to the reason you are here on this planet. Can’t tell you what to say that would touch and move and inspire them.
Only you can do that for yourself.
I work with small groups to name and claim the thing they are here to do that no one else can, and then to help them create marketing bits and pieces that are smart and audience-oriented without losing that essential spark. For more information, visit: http://soundbiteshaman.com/mojo-home.