In certain types of situations, you will fascinate your listener. People will pay close attention to what you say. They’ll ask your opinion and value your input. In these moments, you’ll feel energized and purposeful, because it’s clear you’re adding value. In these moments, you’re applying your most natural mode of communication. On the other hand, other situations put you at a real disadvantage. When you communicate in these situations, you’ll struggle to get your point across. You won’t be confident or feel at ease. You are unlikely to fascinate.
You know what fascination feels like. Fascination happens when you’re engrossed in a cool project at work and feel so purposeful and focused that you completely lose track of time. This is the mental, emotional and physical state of focus, of being completely engaged. When you’re fascinated, you’re not pretending or posing. You can drop the mask and just be yourself.
Think of your own favorite brands, maybe Apple or Pinkberry, Southwest or Zappos. When consumers are fascinated by a brand, it no longer has to compete on price. All great brands triumph over the three threats of distraction, competition and commoditization in the same way: by adding distinct value.
People will pay up to four times more for a product that fascinates them in some way. When a product is successful, it fascinates its customers; it is treated very differently than the generic version. People are willing to not only spend more but also spend more time with it. They make a greater effort to find it, they take better care of it, and they derive more enjoyment from it. The same is true for you.
When you make it easy for others to understand how you are different and what you do best, you’re more likely to be rewarded for it. The key here is to fully recognize your differences rather than just your strengths. The reality is, strengths can be copied. People can copy your product, your pricing, your actions, your recipe or program or formula. But they can never replicate who you are. Who you are is the greatest differentiator you’ve ever had.
Once you understand what makes you different, you can leverage those differences to avoid commoditization. You are perfect for certain things. You are wrong for others. You do not have to be perfect for everything. Find the challenges that you’re truly perfect for rather than merely adequate for. Find the situations in which you distinguish yourself, situations that allow you to fascinate effortlessly.
Every single time you communicate with someone, you are either adding value (and reinforcing why they should prioritize you) or taking up space (and reinforcing that your
messages are irrelevant spam). In marketing, these interactions are sometimes called “touchpoints.” They are points of contact. Every single interaction is a touchpoint.
Every touchpoint should highlight what makes you different and better. Every business email, every business lunch, every direct mail piece, every social media update and every expense report should reinforce your value proposition. If you can’t improve people’s perception of you or at the very least maintain it, then reconsider whether you should be engaging in the first place.
You will never rise to your greatest potential by being all things to all people. Maximize value. Subtract everything else. Remove it from the equation so that you’re not being evaluated according to your dormant Advantage.Then you’re far more likely to exceed expectations at every turn.