I had a great visit with a mentee recently who is incredibly talented. She knows her work is great, she’s extremely personable, she is engaging, but for some reason she has a really difficult time selling herself and her work. So we reviewed my #NewNorm framework together (she took 8 pages of notes) and I thought some of the same ideas may be of interest / value to you:
1. Become an object of interest / create market gravity or pull. In our over-hyped, info-overload, everybody looking, sounding, and trying to be like everybody else, here is how to elevate yourself and your work above the market noise. What do you do really well? Focus, eliminate distractions, outsource – do whatever you have to so you can focus on creating examples of your work that will create awareness and inquiry by your target audience.
2. Develop a Broad Base of Market Relationships. Who else is working with your target audience that needs to know about your work? Who are you working with that others of similar caliber would appreciate getting to know better. Build & nurture relationships in the market that can refer you and vice versa, both within an organization and external to it.
3. Ensure Economics Buyers. Figure out who is the one-person with the challenge or the upside potential that you can help. Who has both the willingness and the ability to solve that challenge or take advantage of the upside opportunity. Find the one neck to choke, the one person who is accountable, who owns the outcome and find a way to work directly with them.
4. Add Value, Provoke, or otherwise bring a Contrarian Perspective at Every Interaction. The world is full of “yes-people;” in any market, find a way to stand out, stand up, and bring a unique lens or a fresh perspective to the table. That’s the only way to get noticed, get called back, invited to the table if not the board room. Remember to be able to back up your point of view as those who inquire will demand that you’re able to defend your position, not just regurgitate it!
5. Develop a Trusting Relationship. Only when the other person believes that you have a vested interest in their success, will they believe you, believe in you, invest in you, want to work with you to jointly address their challenges or opportunities. Like me – know me – trust me – pay me! It works in that sequence!
6. Gain Agreement on Desired Outcomes. What are the end objectives, how will we measure our progress, and what’s the value to the person, the team or the organization. Only when you understand the desired outcomes can you create a game plan to help them achieve it. Never forget that relationships go bad with misaligned expectations!
7. Propose Value Based Options. Instead of IF to work with you, give them several options in HOW to work with you. Remember, they’re simply not more of the same but a deeper value add in how you can help them elevate their performance, execution, and results.
8. Deliver Results. I’ve read well over 100 books on business relationships; I’ve been blessed to be able to write four and am working on several more. Make no mistake about it, performance trumps all! You have to be competent, capable, and deliver on the commitments you’ve made along the way. When you do, it cements the relationship for a reason, a season, if not a lifetime.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll write more about each of these topics. I’ve also designed, developed, and with the help of some friends, am delivering a two day business conference on this topic – The InfoComm AV Exec. Conference. Hope you’ll make time to join us!