You Aren’t a Guru


In my last post, I ranted about how easy it is to put ourselves in a box.

If we want to resist those natural urges, one of the toughest things about being a thought leader is the difficulty of clearly explaining what you do. Sometimes we are too close to our stories to be able to see what we do from the consumer’s perspective vs. our perception of the consumer’s perspective. (Get the difference?).

The key to not putting yourself in a box is to get really clear on what you actually offer.

Go to your LinkedIn page and ask yourself, is it clear what I do? Then do the same on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Is it clear or not? My bet is that it could probably use a little tightening up.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. I recently saw that someone in my network had updated their headline on LinkedIn to read, “I’m a speaker, entrepreneur and writer. I help people connect ideas into action.” Can anyone tell me what the hell that means? I have no idea what turning ideas into actionmeans. And the fact that he’s a speaker, entrepreneur and writer is imprecise and irrelevant.

I know very little of this guy. I know he works in marketing. I know he’s mid-senior level. I know he lives in San Francisco. I know he’s a nice guy. But I still have no idea what he actually does.

Now, if he was a household name among his target audience such a fluffy descriptor may work. But unless you’re Tony Robbins, it’s a tough sell. Here is what would be more clear: “I help marketers working in the footwear industry unroll new product campaigns that excite.”

Much clearer, right?

I added in four simple things that make all the difference:

  1. Who do you serve? (“I help marketers”)
  2. What industry do you operate in? (“…working in the footwear industry”)
  3. What do you do? (“…unroll new product campaigns”)
  4. What value you provide? (“…that excite.”)

No one, I repeat, no one will hire you if they do not know these four things about you. Confusion never leads to sales.

You might say, “Well Jordo, I serve multiple markets with multiple businesses.” To which I would reply, “Me too.” The trick here is to understand where your potential customers are hanging out. So, if your goal is to speak more to corporate audiences, make sure it’s damn clear on LinkedIn which vertical you focus on, what you offer, and the value you deliver.

Be clear. Be concise. Let people know what you do. And more importantly, let people see the story of what you do.

To be clear, in one line you have explained to someone the story of what happens when you work. In turn, the mind can’t help but wonder what would happen if they started working with you. Psychological hack.

Start with something that is clear and then build from there. Don’t worry about being fancy right now; just be straightforward.

And if you’re still in a box, we’ll throw the whole damn box out of the window in future posts…

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