I’m a fan of American Idol. The first rounds are over and the winners have moved on to Hollywood and the losers have retired to anonymity. What made the successful ones winners? Is it their voice, their personalities, their dancing, their looks?
I believe it’s all of those things (to an extent). BUT, as Simon always says in his distinctive accent, “Remember, this is a singin’ competition and you cawn’t sing!” And there you have it! As usual, Simon is right.
Once all the glitz and glamor are gone, and the singers arrive in Hollywood, they have one chance. They walk out in front of the judges and their fellow competitors, they get to sing that one song choice and they hear whether they are approved for the “next round”.
I’m always amazed when criticism comes up, the young wannabe panics and starts to dance or tell jokes (or begs). Then they start saying all the other things that they think they do well. “I write a lot music”. “I’m a good husband”. “You won’t believe my guitar playing…” and on and on it goes. But it never works. We always hear, “Sorry.”
American Idol is a lot like business life.
Times are rough on companies right now. Perhaps you find yourself in front of perspective customers and you feel judged. You start to tell them what you do well. Upon hearing anything negative (or a raised skeptical eyebrow) you panic. You start listing EVERYTHING you can possibly do for them.
Does that help? Sadly, it usually doesn’t.
A unique selling proposition (USP) isn’t talked about a lot lately. But I believe it’s very important concept for a company to survive.
Start by asking yourself what you do well. Better than (almost) ANYONE else. Often we look at our weaknesses and we think, if I can only do THAT better, I’ll be a success. That’s wrong thinking.
STOP trying to improve your weaknesses and START improving on your strengths. STOP thinking negatively about what you could be doing better and START thinking how well you do that one thing. Once you have that one thing in your mind, start thinking about how you can do it differently than almost anyone else. That’s your USP.
Once you have that in your mind, start thinking about who would want it. That’s your audience. Then start thinking about the benefits they would enjoy when they come to you. That’s your positioning.
In a recession, you hear “sorry” a lot more than when the economy is escalating. DON’T start waffling and looking desperate. It’s easy to start offering a potential client or customer EVERYTHING you can possibly do — just to get work. It may work in the short term but what it does is, well, makes you look desperate! Your prices then have to be reduced and the victim cycle starts.
Instead, be proud at what you do well! Charge ahead and if you hear “sorry”, move on and find another potential client. Eventually, you’ll start being known (word-of-mouth and marketing) because you’re unique and better than the other person. Because you do it well!
Once you hear criticism, be listening to the words that come after “sorry.” This will help you realize what you need to do differently the next time. Or how you need to sell yourself. Remember you’re trying to improve what you do well!
Remember, stop trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, but instead concentrate on doing one thing extremely well!
At PinPoint, can also help you with your USP and positioning. We help people like you communicate their strengths and help their companies with their brand positioning. It’s what we do best! Contact me today!