One of my favorite exercises to give clients comes when working with them on defining their strengths and benefits. We are all so close to our businesses that seeing the messages we’re sending and how it impacts our customers is sometimes impossible. It’s harder than you think to view your business, and yourself for that matter, as others see you.
So when we get to the part of coaching where we focus on communicating what sets you apart or why a customer would choose you over the competition, I don’t trust my clients to tell me what they think. I have them literally ask for that outside perspective.
The assignment is to ask friends, family and past customers to describe what you do, what you’re good at, and why they would (or did) choose to work with you. It can be an extremely illuminating experience. You will most likely hear words reflected back that you never thought of or qualities that you take for granted might be key to how people see you.
After completing this exercise I once had a client come back to me and say, “My family and friends kept telling me how fun and quirky I am, but that doesn’t come through in the way I present myself at all.” She was so focused on being professional that she was hiding a key quality of her personality, one that would really help her to sell both her artwork and teaching services.
However this exercise doesn’t need to be set aside only to find strengths and benefits it’s also great to help you get through those stuck times or regain focus and direction. We often hit those patches where we get bogged down in the day to day and forget why we’re doing this.
I was reminded of this exercise recently when I had a client say to me, “You must really love what you do, working with creative people to turn ideas into reality.” I was speechless for a moment taking in what she’d said. And then I replied, “Yes, I really do love what I do.” What I didn’t tell her is that for a short time I had forgotten what it is I do because I was so focused on bank balances, newsletter subscribers, and website visits. I needed to hear her perspective of what I did to remind me of where my focus should be. Instead of looking at numbers and analytics I needed to spend more time telling people what I’m good at, I needed to focus on giving the advice that wells up inside of me when anyone talks about a new business idea.
My challenge to you this week is to ask at least two people to tell you what you’re good at and what makes you different. I promise you'll appreciate the perspective.
Genevieve not only writes The Savvy Entrepreneur she is the Co-Founder of Lightbox SF where she empowers creatives to take over the world. Check out the blog or how to work with her.
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