Fail to Impress

Water your own lawn.
February 20, 2012
Eat only what’s delicious.
March 5, 2012

One of our most important jobs as entrepreneurs is attracting clients. As a result we do all kinds of things to capture the attention of our audience. We want to make a big impression so we will be remembered and, hopefully, even referred.  However, while it’s good to make a positive impression, being impressive should not be the ultimate goal when it comes attracting your ideal clients. A far better and much more effective approach is to create an authentic brand that speaks to the hearts of your audience.

Remember the old story of the wind and the sun competing to see who can get a man to take off his jacket first? The wind howls and tries to blow the man’s jacket off, but the harder the wind blows the tighter the man clings to his jacket. The sun, on the other hand, beams its rays of light and warmth on the man. He gets so toasty he takes his jacket right off. I suspect he even enjoys the warmth and the glow of the sun.

It’s like that with branding as well. If you are merely impressive, you are like the wind. You may blow long and hard, but you are not getting your clients to open up to all the wonderful things you have to offer. In order for you to get your audience to open up to you and your services, you must warm them up and connect with them on an emotional level. The best way to do this is to first open your own heart. You must show who you are, what you feel, and share your unique story.

Right now you may think I have gone off completely into a field of daisies and fairy dust. You want to attract clients, not sit in a circle and sing kum by ya. However, before you dismiss the idea of opening up and sharing your feelings, think about your own experiences with people, products or special performances to which you have most strongly responded. Those things probably weren’t just impressive, but rather they probably touched you in a personal way. Truly powerful performances are those where the artist is able to express herself and engage and move the audience.

When there is a natural disaster or conflict somewhere in the world we often hear statistics on the news. “Thousands lose homes in flood.” or “Hundreds killed in recent battle.” Those numbers are certainly impressive, but do they move you?  Maybe. However, if you heard the story of one family, a single mother perhaps who has no where to go with her children, who worked hard to finally get off welfare and buy her first house only to have it swept away in the storm. That story would stick with you.

It can be scary to open yourself up. You fear embarrassment or worse, rejection when you reveal yourself. However, the rewards are worth the risk. When you are authentic, your audience senses it. You develop the all-important know-like-trust factor and you don’t have to work so hard to attract folks. Your ideal audience finds you and responds to you and your message. That kind of validation is priceless. So go ahead, fail to impress. In the end you will make a much better impression.