I am a huge fan of the Brand You movement. I know there will be some folks who think of it as part of the Z-list celebrity paradigm, but that is missing a trick or two.
Likewise, it may come across as narcissistic to talk in terms of ‘You’ and not ‘Us’ or ‘Them’ but the truth of the matter is that in these ‘look and feels like everyone else’ days, it is incredibly important to develop a bushel of skills that make you stand out from the ever growing crowd of crowd pleasers.
Your career does not start and end with your technical brilliance. Yes, you might feel a tangible benefit from the increased capability that comes from being a knowitall, but the trouble is for those that buff up their skills in this way they tend to lose everyone else – clients mostly.
I am not belittling those Elephant brains out there who we know we can rely on for Chapter and 20 verses but rather it is just one of many skills that you need to keep in mind when building your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – a sub-set of brand you.
Let me make one thing clear, the idea of a USP gets lost in a welter of discussion but little action. If you are in the service industry chances are that your version of your service is like the copycat version down the road. Trying to lay out your differences ends up like a slew of similes just waiting to hatch forth. Perhaps that is why I think the personalised version is so much stronger. After all we are all different – we have different tastes, interests and there is more than one way to skin a client problem (as long as you get it right).
So leaving to one side the glut of knowledge that you possess, let me encourage you to think about USP-showmanship that might just make you a few dollars more.
- Your dress code. I like to dress to feel good about myself. Am I trying to impress you? Quite possibly, but not because I think I will fit into your mould of a stereotypical [name] but rather because it gives me the inner confidence not to have to worry about how you perceive me. One thing I am fastidious about is clean shoes. They are not Army like in their sheen but I look after them. Ladies and gents alike this is one of those giveaways that you dare not mess with. If you can’t be bothered to brush your shoes, then how much interest will you have in looking after my affairs?
- Your smile. Make sure you practice it every single day in the mirror before you exit the front door. Playing some great music always makes me feel good about myself sufficient to squeeze out more than a whiff of a upturned lip.
- Practice your ‘Ps’ and ‘Qs’. It costs nothing to say “good morning” and “good night” and you can buttress those with just a smidgen of “thank yous”.
- Listen first. Learn to keep your mouth closed and your ears open. I would wager that most of us seldom last more than a few seconds before we are compelled to interject. Don’t. Keep quiet. You may just surprise yourself with how much you learn.
- Fall in love with what you do. If you love what you do then that confidence will radiate a 100 yards in all directions. If you hate your job then for God’s sake don’t sit there a moment longer than you have to moaning about the shit that flows downhill in your direction.
- Find your passion. This is inherent in point 5. If you are doing something for the sake of it then guess what it will be real hard to develop any USP save a synthetic, pre-worn version of the real you. I know when someone is faking their lust for the job. The mask slips pretty early on. And guess what, will I really want to work with someone who is not inspired by what they are doing? Remember we are talking USP. How many times do you come across someone who is so passionate about their field of endeavour that that sells them as much as their personality.
- And finally, to keep this list tight and on point, strive for Excellence. Note I did not say perfection. I find perfectionists hard work. They are so tight arsed that nothing escapes them which is all well and good but it makes for a very edgy ride. I would rather work with someone who gives it everything they have got and gets the job done, always, rather than someone who fusses constantly as to whether what they have done is good enough.