Depending on your approach, you may be drowning and just don’t know it yet. You may be drowning in the sea of sameness that is your marketplace.
Look at virtually any industry, whether it's executive recruitment, college recruitment, financial services, retail or anything else, and you’ll see a herd mentality. Everyone looks, sounds, dresses and acts the same. Their websites and marketing collateral are even pretty much the same. I call it Baskin Robbins theory. It may seem like there are 31 different flavors to choose from but most are just variations of vanilla and vanilla only sells when it comes to ice cream.
If you look, act, sound and offer what everyone else has, you’re not that interesting. In fact, you’re boring, and I can find “you” anywhere. There is a herd mentality in business causing a lot of clutter and that clutter is likely killing your results. Consumers are bombarded with approximately 5,000 advertising messages, requests and pitches a day and very few of them are unique. (It’s only getting worse as media gets more and more fragmented daily.)
How do you stand out in that sea of sameness? Have the courage to be different.
This is at the core of my message of my forthcoming book Blue Chip: Becoming the Prospect Everyone Wants. It’s about becoming so attractive to the market, whatever market you’re in, that you become the hunted, not the hunter, when it comes to business development. Your first impression needs to demonstrate value and intrigue so much that people seek you out and want to do business with you.
Most industries are pretty homogenous. So how do prospective clients tell you from the herd? The best in every industry do it a little different than the rest. Sure, there are certain core fundamentals that everyone possesses, but what puts the elite over the top is their unique method for elevating and separating themselves from the competition.
My mentor always wore a loud, argyle green blazer on the road recruiting. Compared to the standard coaches attire of tan khakis and a polo shirt, he stood out from his competition. People became drawn to him and could get a glimpse in his engaging personality and contrarian methods.
It didn’t just separate him from the herd in the moment. Long after coaches' names and universities were forgotten, folks would be talking about the guy in that loud green blazer (picture Rodney Dangerfield as a coach and there you have it). It elevated him out of the clutter and separated him from the “homogenous herd.”
You need your own version of the green argyle blazer. I’m not talking about mere style, I’m referring to substance as well. Something about you that makes you walk, talk and look different and deliver the goods at a high level.
Look at what Cirque du Soleil and Harley Davidson have done in their respective industries. They are one of a kind, high value brands that you just can’t find anywhere else. They draw you in with their uniqueness.
If you’re just like everyone else in your profession, the only differentiator becomes price. Who is going to discount their offer the most becomes a mindless race to the bottom and you’ve commoditized yourself.
Take inventory of your unique abilities, delivery method, credentials and life experiences that have shaped who you are and how you work. Own it, embrace it, leverage it in the marketplace and watch your value soar.
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