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Are You Invisible?
by Joe Heller

Do you remember a time when you were a kid and pretended to be invisible? Your imagination delighted your parents as you walked through the house inspiring them to play along with you, all could hear your innocent giggling.

Fast forward to today, entrepreneurs and professionals are still invisible. Only this time it's not pretend, it's real and you're wondering why potential clients can't see you. Are you confused why someone else is getting all of the referrals or how a big deal lands effortlessly in the lap of your competitor? You feel like jumping up and down, and screaming at the top of your lungs, "here I am!" You are trapped beneath the "ceiling of visibility" being pulled down by the same vacuum that pulls sailors to their death as their ship sinks.

Invisibility for professionals is becoming more of a realization today than ever before. The world is more complex, and more crowded. Competition is getting more rigorous; there are hundreds of suitors vying for the same opportunities today, whereby only a few a decades ago, the competition was more scarce and timid. The uprooting of technology with the fall of the Internet, and the manipulation of the stock markets by corporate America is driving confusion and noise in the marketplace at a level we've never seen before. Adding to the confusion is the new "law of the jungle." We no longer trust business to do the right thing; the burden has fallen back to the individual. We have renewed our trust in the people to do the right thing, adding a new dimension for gaining visibility an already bloodthirsty market.

With this in mind, let me dispel a common belief that many entrepreneurs and professionals have today is "build it and they will come". The fallacy in these words is it removes your effort to build a trusted relationship with your market. Today, the key to building a thriving business in the ever-evolving world is building a foundation on trust, one person at a time. I've noticed in my speaking travels that people have adopted a "so what…" attitude. They are less concerned about the product/service advantages and more concerned with individuals living up to their promises. People are doing business with people again and they are saying, come and see me and please stop sending me those damn emails. I am not saying technology is bad, it does have its place. Staying competitive today means that you must break through the technology veil to focus on building strong personal relationships with your clients. Technology is now controlling society instead of society controlling technology. Let's stop hiding behind email and speak to our clients whenever possible.

How can you gain control and break through your "ceiling of invisibility"? The secret lies in branding; not corporate branding, but personal branding. A question, I was recently asked during an interview with The Brand Channel was "…is it possible for a person to be a brand?" I answered no; not in the traditional sense of a brand. A personal brand is a metaphor for communicating your unique talents to your 'listening' market in such a way that they immediately understand the value you offer. A personal brand is about how to communicate the authenticity of your unique talents, your genius to the world. It's about earning the trust and respect of your market by establishing yourself as "the choice" and not "a choice" when someone has a need. Personal Branding is about the quality of the communication you have with your "listening" market.

Note: A "listening market' goes beyond a target market. It is a market that is specifically listening for your unique value message based on their experiences and historical references. In other words, it's why someone chooses Wheaties and another chooses Bran. Each cereal has very little nutritional difference; the real difference lies in minds of the buyers who are 'listening' for a specific benefit message. This is a subset of how branding works.

Don't sit and wait expecting the world to discover your unique talents. In order to communicate your distinctive value to your listening market, consider a "visibility campaign". It's a way to communicate certain things, to certain people in a certain way that positions you to capture the attention of your internal market (firm/company) and/or your external market (clients/customers). Finally, if you think you can be successful while staying invisible, you are misleading yourself into the depths of mediocrity.

Important questions to ask yourself:
  1. Do you have a FEAR of being visible?
  2. Do you have a "visibility plan" that will build trust and credibility?
  3. What is the first step I can to today to begin my quest for more visibility?
Important points to consider to effectively carry out your "visibility campaign":
  1. What's your message? Remember not use the same narrative that everyone else in your market does. Be distinct, focus on the problems you have solved for your clients and tie that into an emotional account from your client's perspective.
  2. What media will be most effective? What are the experts in your field doing, where are they being published? Write an article on the focal issues your clients are facing and offer solutions.
  3. What's your Brand Promise? Are you living up to the expectations the market has for you? And, remember to communicate with clarity to you market about your successes. You need to consistently educate and remind your market on how good you are.
  4. Are you distinct? A catastrophic failing with many professionals is that they try to be all things to all people. When this happens their brand gets diluted. Successful people today are known for something, they've specialized.
  5. Do you have a story that can be easily told? Story's are viral and create buzz, hoping from one person to the next. Craft a story that's full of emotion and get people excited about what you do. -- Hint: A speaker practices their story at least 50 times before going on stage. Make sure you 'own' your story before you tell it in public. And, remember you can't stay invisible and expect to be successful! I challenge you to rise from the "Sea of Sameness."
One final note; in order to rise from the “sea of sameness” you must become an avid student of lead generation and marketing strategy.

One final note; in order to build trust with your market you must become an avid student of lead generation and marketing strategy.

© Copyright Joe Heller. All Rights Reserved.

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