Some businesses – and business owners – just seem irresistible. They’re the ones earning the highest fees who rarely seem to go searching for clients and customers because clients come to them. How does this happen?
It’s not an isolated phenomenon. These kinds of “bankable” businesses exist in almost every industry, said Andrew Sobel, co-author along with Jerold Panas of “Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business and Influence Others.” But business superstars aren’t born, they’re usually self-made. Here are some keys that can unlock the hidden superstar in any entrepreneur:
• Deliver something great, over and over. Not easy, sure. But you can’t expect superstardom to occur overnight. You have to build your reputation for delivering results consistently year after year. Entrepreneurs who keep on delivering gain trust and become more “bankable.”
• Have a high-powered value proposition. It’s vital that you clearly articulate why customers should come to you above everyone else. What unique value do you and your business offer? Your public value proposition doesn’t have to define everything you do with clients or customers, but it should make clear what you’re best known for. Businesses that don’t have a unique value proposition are just a commodity.
• Be the one asking the questions. Here’s a good test of where you stand: When you talk to potential clients, are they the ones asking all the questions; grilling you on your credentials? Or do you also tactfully test them for suitability as one of your clients? Good news here is that you don’t have to wait until you’re famous to put yourself in this position. You can do it at any point in the life of your business. When you’re the one asking the thought-provoking, idea-inducing questions in the conversation, people take notice.
• Be an industry thought leader. These days, you don’t have to write a bestselling book to be seen as a thought leader. It starts by having deep focus and an abiding curiosity to learn everything there is to know about your industry. Then start passing along that knowledge, by blogging, speaking, consulting, writing articles for industry publications and participating in social media. It’s not a one-and-done proposition. You need to be out there daily.
• Create a powerful name or brand. In short, you need to become well-known. That doesn’t mean worldwide. It might just be in your community or other limited sphere of influence – in your particular niche, marketplace or geographic area. When you are a known name in your specialty, customers think of you when they need something. Name recognition works like a magnet. It’s never too late to start. •
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