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Are You Answering the Question Nobody’s Asking?
And – dagnabbit – I’m a marketing guy. I should know better.
For years I’ve been selling myself as a branding speaker. After all, I helped build brands for companies including AmEx, Bacardi, Citi, Discovery Channel, Hasbro, Lan Chile, and more.
And I helped craft great tourism destinations like Kissimmee, Miami, Puerto Rico, and lots more of them too. I wrote four books on branding. And I ran a brand management firm for over 30 years for Pete’s sake.
So, of course it made sense that I presented myself as a branding expert.
And it worked (at least I thought it worked). I got booked to speak at conferences around the world and picked up lots of great consulting assignments from the people I met in the audiences I spoke for.
But despite all these great opportunities, I eventually felt like I’d hit a plateau. I was getting lots of great gigs, sure. But I wasn’t getting as many as I wanted. And I just couldn’t figure out why.
That was until my wonderful speaking agent, Arnold Sand, pointed out the obvious. Yes, I was getting most of the good branding gigs out there. The problem was that there just weren’t that many potential branding bookings compared to how many events there were. The result was that there were lots of great business opportunities I wasn’t getting.
Or, as Anthony Michael Hall’s character (Farmer Ted) says in 16 Candles, “…the thing is I’m kind of like the leader. Kinda like the king of the dipshits.”
Because I was answering the question nobody was asking. Even though I was well known in the branding space, there just weren’t enough speaking bureaus and meeting planners looking for a great branding speaker.
But here’s the ironic part: branding is about understanding and presenting a clearly defined position. It’s about clarity. It’s about knowing yourself and your client and understanding where you can best solve their problems and meet their needs.
And that clarity is critical to focus entrepreneurial energy, secure investment, motivate and retain employees, and successfully deliver concepts to the market.
Uncovering clarity is what I do. It’s what I write about. It’s what I talk about.
Based on that understanding, I’m not just a branding speaker. I’m a leadership speaker. I’m an HR speaker. I’m a customer service speaker. I’m a sales speaker.
In other words, I’m a business solutions speaker.
Why? Because that definition not only defines what I do, but also answers the questions my potential clients are asking:
- How do we retain and energize our employees?
- How do we upgrade and motivate our sales teams?
- How do we incite continuous innovation?
- How do we successfully enter new markets?
- How do we build our incremental profits?
I know the answers to these questions. Problem was, I wasn’t positioning myself properly to get the chance to showcase them in the first place.
As I wrote in my latest book, Is That All There Is‽ “the plumber’s house leaks, and the carpenter’s house creaks.” Just because we can do something effectively for someone else, doesn’t mean we can do it for ourselves.
The cobbler’s kids have no shoes.
An attorney who represents themselves has a fool for a client.
And a branding speaker who does their own branding might not see all the opportunities they’re missing out on.
Even though I’ve been talking about myself in this blog, It’s really about you. It’s just that I’m more comfortable pointing out what I’ve done wrong than showing what maybe you’ve done wrong.
So, if my tale makes sense to you, the question you should ask yourself is “what question am I answering that no one’s asking?”