Small Business: One owner, water views, renovators delight.
You know how we laugh at the creative prose that real estate agents use to minimise the short comings of a property? You know the sort of thing – Stand on the toilet and crank your head 45% degree to take in the “water views” ; tip toe through the mould, vermin droppings and broken floor boards avoiding a nasty disease or a sprained ankle to view the “lifestyle potential” of the “character filled cottage”? Why do some business consultants, coaches, mentors apply the same ‘creativity’ to their self-promotion? If you are a service provider and in particular a soloist, your bio or profile is a really important piece of marketing communication – It is one of the main components of your brand. It is one of the ways that customers will evaluate your credibility and authenticity – It is no place for real estate speak. If you haven’t got a respected colleague or customer who you can ask to put some words together for you, nor can you afford a professional copywriter, here are some suggestions for how to approach your bio. 1. Would you say it? Take out your bio or profile. Read it out loud. Now, would you say that when meeting someone? Does it ring true to your voice? 2. Do you mean it? Are you saying the stuff that you really mean, that you think is important, or the stuff that you think people want to know? 3. Do they want to hear it? Do you know if the potential customer cares one iota for the stuff that you are really proud? Is it just a chance to show off a little or does it really impact upon your customers take on you? Does it resonate with the customer? 4. Kill the cliché Is there a single cliché in your bio? If so, can you find some real words to say the same thing? 5. Cease the spin! Stop it. Just stop. No more spin. It is damaging your brand. It is OK to be a solo business operator; or to be proud of your three clients this year. When you say things like “Our team” when you are a soloist what people are reading between the lines of your profile is that you are apologetic. When you refer to your extensive client base but only have three actual customers to list, it comes across as non-authentic. I have to trust what you are saying if we are going to build a relationship. So, once you have fixed your profile, here is some ‘real estate speak’ to watch out for in others: * Nationally recognised: Did a gig, most likely a freebie, across the border, once…and had to catch a plane to get there. * Internationally recognised – As above but a much longer plane trip. * Author of the hugely popular book – Self-published, didn’t sell any, but it always goes down a treat when given away in seminars * Global clientele – Helped the local Ford dealer set up a sausage sizzle; set up the books for a Microsoft reseller * Contributed to a global think tank on (fill in the topic): Commented on a blog. There are occasionally award winning, internationally published, best selling, business coaches who have dealt with global brands and advised governments. There is a good chance that the bio you are reading within an email or on the “who are we” page of a local web-site is not about one of them. It takes a lot of bravery to just say it like it is – but being authentic is about treating your customers with respect. And it will pay you back 10 fold.