When it comes to understanding the details of your industry and going above and beyond to get the job done properly, no one can beat a Maven. You bring your A-game to every single project, and you are elite among your competition in skill, know-how, raw talent, and a love for what you do. Your career has likely followed a traditional trajectory, taking the logical steps from education to each employment opportunity, progressively growing your abilities and your portfolio. You nail all the little details that your competition doesn’t even know about, and you never settle for less than your best. Clients are consistently impressed with your storehouse of knowledge, the professionalism of your final product, and your commitment to excellence.
The problem you face, though, is in getting those clients in the first place—because the way you frame yourself and your services makes it difficult for prospective clients to understand your value. Your instinct is to provide a detailed description of your experience, subject-matter knowledge, and endlessly customizable offerings, which unfortunately doesn’t add credibility or engage interest. Complicated explanations confuse and overwhelm clients; they don’t really get it, and they don’t really want to. They just want outcomes.
In addition, you likely put yourself into a box when describing who you are and what you do. You label yourself based on your functional skill and not on the benefits you provide to your clients—you tell people you’re a copywriter, or a marketer, or an accountant, or whatever basic descriptor you’ve used throughout your career so far.
This makes sense when you’re working for someone else. Employers make their hiring and promoting decisions based on whether someone fits into the box they need to check off. But when you start your own business, fitting into a box makes you a commodity. You’re just one copywriter among thousands of others, with nothing to set you apart from everyone else. You’re passed over for someone who charges less, and when you try to explain how and why you’re better, sharing an array of technical details to educate them on the complexities of the project, they hear it as industry jargon and buzzwords that they don’t understand and don’t really care about.
You spend hours on detailed, thorough proposals, hoping to demonstrate your technical expertise, thinking that your in-depth knowledge will make the sale. The truth is, that’s never going to work. You’ll still be regarded as one among many, with your only perceived distinction being exceptionally long proposals that never actually get read! Or when they are, they’re endlessly negotiated as you’re forced to compete on price with everyone else.
What you’ve got to do is take yourself out of that box and start talking to clients in a way that truly speaks to their core issues. What are the specific outcomes and benefits you provide, that no one else does? What unmet need do you deliver on? Remember, their focus is not on the technical details—clients want results, outcomes, benefits, and ROI.
Talk to prospective clients in a way that addresses their particular needs and pain points. Explain how you can solve their problems and what benefits they can expect. Use specific examples of clients you’ve helped in the past, and incorporate those stories into your sales pitch. Tell them about clients, just like them, whom you’ve worked for in the past, and describe the amazing results you achieved for them—the exact outcomes your prospective client is looking for. This benefit-focused approach results in the client interest and excitement that a tedious technical explanation could never provide.
You’re a true standout in terms of technical knowledge, finished product, professionalism, and a job well done. Everything you produce is head and shoulders above what most of your competition is capable of. However, labeling yourself according to your functional skill and trying to sell yourself through extensive technical explanations means you’re not speaking the client’s language, and worse still, lumping yourself in with everybody else. Tell great stories, focus on outcomes (not details) and clients will see you as the only logical choice.