It’s easy to be exceptional. We just over-complicate it. Can we agree that it’s very important to be exceptional in your niche? Building a website isn’t enough, is it? Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come. You need to be exceptional. If we’re not exceptional, why should anyone buy from us?
This article is about how to be exceptional in your niche, even if it’s highly competitive. And the answer is way, way simpler than you may realize.
Don’t be a Red Hat Realtor
There is a small real estate team in my town, and they all wear red hats. That’s their marketing angle. Red hats. Genius, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, surely people will stand up and take notice of them now, right?
Would you notice a Realtor because they wear a red hat? It’s possible, I suppose. But would you be more inclined to do BUSINESS with that Realtor due to the fact that they wear a red hat? In most cases, I’d wager (and hope!) the answer is no. The red hat is bad schtick. It represents nothing substantive. Schtick can be done well, but this is not the case with the Red Hat Realtors. It’s horrible marketing, and it’s a great illustration of where many of us go wrong more often than we’d like to admit.
Many of us seem to be convinced that we need a gimmick in order to get business. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Being exceptional is much simpler than that.
Let me know if you disagree, but I see a massively huge difference between merely getting attention and actually building influence with your customers. Given the choice, which would you prefer?
- Getting lots of attention
- Building real, significant influence in your niche
Let’s focus on the latter, shall we?
The Attention Myth
You may be inclined to ask about the value of getting people’s attention. Don’t we need to get people’s attention first in order to influence them? Perhaps the Red Hat Realtors are onto something after all.
It’s true that attention is more scarce than ever. But what is the solution? Bigger and bigger ads? Louder and louder ads? More and more funny looking hats? Look at Times Square in NYC. You can walk straight through some of the biggest, most expensive advertisements on the planet and in five minutes not be able to recall any of the marketing you just witnessed. I’ve done it. It is fun to walk amongst all the lights and energy, but it doesn’t make you want to actually buy anything. So why do businesses continue to spend bazillions on horrible ads that don’t work? Because they don’t know how to be exceptional.
Advertisements have gotten so loud and overbearing that everything has become a din. This isn’t a recent change. It’s old news. Yet most marketers have still failed to adapt. Here’s what we need to realize:
- Just because something is scarce (i.e. attention) doesn’t mean it’s valuable.
- Quiet is the new loud.
- Authenticity is the new schtick (and the only schtick).
- Influence is the new attention.
- You don’t have to be loud to be exceptional.
You don’t need to get people’s attention at all. What you need is clout. And you get clout by being exceptional. When you’re exceptional, attention comes to you automatically. You cannot “get” people’s attention. Their attention is theirs. It’s not yours to take.
The Exceptional Mistake
Many of us at our core, don’t believe we’re exceptional. This is a costly mistake…and it’s the reason we think we need to do something gimmicky in order to stand out. You are exceptional, actually. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be in business for very long if you don’t believe in yourself. You can get away with it for a while if you have a huge advertising budget, but even then you have to pick up the slack with actual awesomeness, or it’s all doomed.
If you don’t believe you have anything of exceptional value to offer your customers, you need to go back to the drawing board. Don’t be out there making offers you don’t believe in. I’m in earnest. If you’re not awesome, the best thing you can do is stop trying to sell anything at all and do some soul searching. Do more research. Focus on your education for a while. Meditate. Find yourself. It’s worth the time it will take, because when you find your inner-awesomeness, there will be no stopping you. This may sound pretty simplistic, but it’s really true. There are so few awesome marketers out there, you will rise to the top automatically when you truly believe in yourself.
3 Deceptively Easy Ways to be Exceptional
The most awesome ways of being exceptional are also deceptively simple. Remember, are we trying to merely garner more attention? Or is our goal to get serious clout and influence with our target audience? If your focus is the latter, then the following list is an awesome place to start. It’s not about marketing tricks. Being exceptional is simple. Soak these in and let me know what you think…
Mind Your Biznas
Properly managed businesses tend to last. Do you know how to read a balance sheet? Are you familiar with how write up a profit and loss? Fortunes are lost on genius and great ideas all the time, due to poor management. Pizazz makes millions; it also fritters them away. If you want pizazz, run a big expensive ad. See where that gets you. If you want influence, you have to build it brick by brick. Rise to the top by simply outlasting everyone else. It probably won’t take nearly as long as you think. Stay in business. If you stay in the black, you’re already better than 95% of your competition. Be present.
Now that’s pretty boring isn’t it? But give it a whirl. Work hard in your business and stick around for five years, and then come tell me you’re not one of the top contenders in your niche. I dare you. Most blogs only last a few months. We’re so impatient, so focused on finding some ninja tactic or trick to becoming an overnight sensation in our business, that we overlook the fact that we’re ALREADY in the process of completing the most crucial first step to success. The first prerequisite to success is simply remaining in business. This uber-effective, highly classified ninja tactic is underestimated by almost everyone. I encourage you to give it a second look.
If you regularly clock out along with the 9-5’ers, there are only two explanations. One, you don’t like what you’re doing, in which case you need to change gears. Two, you actually BELIEVE Frank Kern when he tells you that a successful business can be purchased in a box for $1997. I love Frank and employ Kernsian marketing tactics in my business, but you see where I’m going with this. Hard work cannot be divorced from entrepreneurship. If Frank has to work his tail off to make his millions, so do you and I.
This is a tough one, isn’t it? We often think that standing out means being loud or in some ways being something we’re not. In business there is a difference between standing out and having clout. Don’t be a Red Hat Realtor. Successful marketers will tell you that clout is not intrinsically coupled with acting like a clown. The last thing you want is a lot of attention and no substance. What a horrible place to be, because not only will tons of people not be buying from you, but they’ll also be TALKING about why they’re not buying from you.
Substance and value draw a different kind of attention. They draw the kind of attention you actually want. Top marketers will also tell you that a lot of serious money is being made quietly by marketers you’ve never heard of, probably because they’re just not in your niche. And that’s fine. Don’t get cornered into thinking you need to be loud or have millions of people in your database to be successful. Being yourself is not only sufficient, it’s exceptional. When you’re authentic, you realize there is no competition after all. What a beautiful place to be.
Is This Really Enough?
Can business really be this simple? Just be yourself, work hard and manage the heck out of your business? I know I’d be crazy to tell you there are no other options, so instead I encourage you to go find me some. Find a way to forcefully grab people’s attention that will result in meaningful, sustainable profitability. I’ll wait right here.
But I won’t be holding my breath 🙂
Authenticity is the mother of all real value, and real value is not only sustainable and profitable, it’s also…well, real. What more do we need?