I shaved my head the other day.
I know, it’s not the kind of thing you tend to announce to the world. But as you’ll see in a few more paragraphs, it relates to the way you market your business.
Here’s what happened…
There’s a guy on the west coast named Todd Greene, founder of a company called HeadBlade. HeadBlade is an over the top, cool razor, intended for shaving one’s head.
I talked to Todd once about five years ago. We had a great conversation and he ended up subscribing to this E-Newsletter.
Last month he sent me an email that said: “I’ve been enjoying your newsletters for years…and just noticed you’re a head shaver. Do you know and use HeadBlade? I’d love to send you a free kit and get you on-board.”
Now the truth is, I’m not actually a head shaver. I’m more of a “hair minimalist” – I cut my hair as low as it will go, using an electric razor. When I’m done, my head feels like a brand new tennis ball (minus the wavy lines).
But you know me, free is free. So when the kit arrived – complete with official HeadBlade key chain, HeadBlade pen, several bottles of HeadBlade lotion, and the award-winning HeadBlade itself – I had to give it a whirl. Ten minutes later, I was head-hairless.
If you’ve never had a shaved head, let me just tell you that it is, indeed, a peculiar experience.
First of all, it feels like nothing else you’ve ever touched: It’s warm, it’s smooth, it’s round. It’s human-ish, but oddly so. Kind of like you just discovered a skull washed up on the beach.
Second, the smoothness changes your head’s interaction with the rest of the physical world. Hats glide on and off with ease. Raindrops flow pleasantly down your face without even a moment’s hesitation.
Even sleeping is different, as I discovered that first night. My head, absent the gripping power of hair, slid around on my pillow as if someone had tossed a greased bowling ball into bed with us.
Here’s the point (you knew I’d get to this eventually). I’ve had long hair (down to my shoulders in junior high), nearly no hair (most recently), and everything in-between. Different experiences, but still, all varieties of hair.
Shaving my head completely on the other hand – removing that last, teeny-tiny bit – represented a fundamentally different experience. It was, if you will, “the last mile” of hair that made all the difference.
I think professional services marketing – and in particular, standing out from the crowd – works the same way.
99% of the things you say, the things you do, the certifications and experience you have, even the way you look … is the same as your competition. The difference, as with hair, is in that remaining 1%.
It’s that little bit – the things you say and do that others don’t – that pushes you over the edge, helping people notice you, like you, believe you and remember you.
It’s doing things like:
- Taking a position on issues and expressing an actual point of view when writing or speaking.
- Jumping into a niche, all the way and with both feet, rather than timidly hedging your bets and trying to appeal to everyone.
- Having a web site, blog, business card, presentation, proposal, LinkedIn profile, voicemail message, company name … SOMETHING that’s not the same as everyone else in your field.
But I understand, it’s scary.
It’s scary to be a “whatever it is you do for a living” who doesn’t stay in perfect step with the other people who do whatever it is you do for a living. You’re afraid someone’s going to call you out for being different – or at least not hire you for it.
In practice, however, standing out is exactly what you want – prospective clients are looking for someone who seems to have something going on that everyone else doesn’t. That someone could be you, if only you’d show it.
Remember, the 99% that looks the same may be what gives you credibility. But it’s the 1% that gets you hired.
Live bald and prosper.