In what has become an increasingly rare alignment of my adult and near-adult children’s respective calendars, we had a 10-day period earlier this month when everybody was home at the same time.
My son Evan lives in Memphis. My daughter Emily lives in Tacoma. And my son Jonathan, while technically still a high school-age resident of our house, is verifiably spotted with Yeti-like frequency.
And so we planned a three-day, family getaway to nearby Brattleboro, Vermont. As always, we booked an Airbnb.
There are many benefits to Airbnb relative to a hotel. One of these is surprise – you never quite know what you’re going to find.
Here, and because you’re staying in somebody’s actual home, there are an unlimited number of potential variations awaiting.
Sometimes there’s a dog to play with. Sometimes there’s a luxurious tub. Sometimes there’s beer in the fridge (ok, was).
This time, the fun surprise was a working turntable, a pair of 1970s-era speakers and a healthy record collection. All of which came with an explicit invitation from the host to “enjoy.”
And so we did.
My favorite part was finding albums that I used to have. Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark. Bob Dylan, Blood On The Tracks. The Best of Bread (don’t pretend like you didn’t have this one too – we know you did).
They sounded great, despite (maybe because of) the numerous skips and scratches. And I mean numerous. Every five minutes or so somebody had to jump up and advance the needle.
That’s when I realized that my kids, while certainly familiar with the phrase, “like a broken record,” had never actually experienced one firsthand.
It was like bringing an actual horse to a lake and saying to someone, “See, you can lead him here, but you can’t make him drink.”
When it comes to professional services marketing, the broken record metaphor is one you want to keep close at hand. In short, repetition is your friend.
Why? Two reasons.
First, because there’s a lot of noise out there. In the space of 20 years the world has flipped from “How do I find the answer to…?” to “What should I pay attention to…?”
Second (and this is partly the result of the noise problem), because people have a lot going on in their brains and their lives. We have all become extremely selective filters of information.
Taken together, this means that if the way you describe yourself and your work keeps changing – you say one thing on your web site, something else on LinkedIn, whatever moves you in the moment when I ask you in person, etc. – I’ll never come to associate you with anything in particular.
That’s a problem. Being associated with something in particular – hopefully a pain for which people desperately need a fix – is why humans remember you and refer others your way.
If, however, you put yourself out there as an ever-changing mishmash of whatever businessy-sounding blah blah spills out in the moment, you’ll evaporate from my memory without a trace.
So try this.
- Settle on a sentence or two that describes what you do. (I know it’s an oversimplification; that’s your only option.)
- Use it consistently. There’s a reason Nike doesn’t say “Just Do It,” in one situation, “Just Go For It,” in another and “What The Hell, Give It A Shot” in a third.
- Use it broadly. Web site, business card, LinkedIn, Facebook, personal introduction, etc. In an ideal world, no matter how and where I encounter you, I hear the same message.
Here’s the bottom line. On any given day, 95% of the words and phrases you use to describe your work should be words and phrases you’ve used before.
That’s how you’ll get better at saying and writing it. And that’s how the outside world, who at best only encounters you here and there, in bits and pieces, will come to remember who you are and what you do.
In short, if you don’t feel like you’re a broken record, you’re not doing it right.
- Growing up, what was your favorite record?
- Does your horse drink a lot of water? Explain.
- What else do you do to be remembered by prospects and others?
Share your comments below!
CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE