Can they find you or are you just one of the crowd?
One of the biggest mistakes that people make in business is trying to be all things to all men. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the big fear is that if you cater to only one group of people, everyone else will completely ignore you.
But paradoxically, the converse is true!
When you are seen as a specialist, people immediately make the assumption that you’re an expert. And at the end of the day, we all want to spend our hard earned cash with the people and organisations who we believe are experts and who know what they’re doing. Whether we like it or not, people tend to feel that you’re only a generalist if you’re not good enough to be a specialist.
So where does the paradox come into play? Well, in reality, what often happens when people hear that you’re a specialist in one area is that they’ll ask you whether you can also help people in another area too. (For example, “I hear you’re an expert at helping people to give up smoking using hypnotherapy. Does that mean you could also help me to lose weight?” Or “I know you that you’re highly paid as a Ferrari mechanic, do you think that you could lend me a hand with my vintage cars in your spare time?”)
It’s also worth noting that when you say that your organisation can help “everyone”, a grain of suspicion is implanted in your potential customer’s mind. What they hear is that you’ll take on just about anyone (which immediately creates a whiff of desperation) and what they fear is that actually, you’re probably not any good at helping anyone.
So, how do you set yourself up as a specialist?
The key is to make sure that you target a specific audience. To do this, simply decide which group of people you can best serve – or with whom you feel the most connection – and declare yourself a specialist in that area.
Of course, there’s more to it than simply making the declaration – but by choosing an area in which you want to specialise, you create a route map for your business activities – not least the fact that you’ll get more out of your promotional budget when you focus on just one area of speciality.
And finally, the great news is that when you begin to specialise, your credibility goes up. This means that it’s easy to make relationships with the relevant journalists – and it’s much more likely that you’ll be invited to comment on relevant news stories within the local media, which further helps your positioning as a specialist and expert.
It’s a virtuous circle.
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