Captain’s log, stardate 20180207
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The Introduction Game
Sent by Jonathan Stark on February 7th, 2018
The most reliable way I know to command premium rates is to specialize. Expressing this specialization clearly and consistently in your marketing will position you as an expert in the minds of your ideal buyers.
If you have experimented with positioning your own business, you probably found it to be terrifying. Like one of those dreams where you suddenly realize you’re sitting in math class completely naked. (Just me? Mkay, never mind...)
Positioning expert Philip Morgan calls this “nakedness” reaction The Fear. Updating your website and LinkedIn bio and email signature and everything else with a laser-focused statement about who you help and what you help them with feels like career suicide.
For the last couple weeks, I’ve been working on an exercise that would hopefully de-fear positioning for students. Something that would allow them to experiment with positioning in a safe environment.
At first I was calling it “The Referral Game”, but in discussing it with Philip recently on The Freelancers Show, we agreed that a better name is “The Introduction Game” so that’s what we’ll call it from here on out :)
It boils down to this...
Pick a friend who you think might be looking for more clients and ask the following two questions:
- Who would you like me to introduce you to?
- What would you like me to say to them?
Don’t let them off the hook with either question.
The answer to question 1 should be clear enough that you immediately think of one or more people you know who fit the description, OR you think you know somebody who might.
The answer to question 2 should be something remarkable. Something relevant to the target person. Something that would pique the target person’s interest.
If your friend gives you an answer that makes you scrunch up your face, ask them to try again and again until what they’re saying finally makes sense to you.
In other words, keep going until your face unscrunches.
In my experience doing this with about 30 people in the last couple weeks, it takes about three or four rounds of back and forth before the unscrunch happens.
Once you understand who your friend would like to be introduced to and what they’d like you to say, tell them how you’d actually introduce them to someone.
Make it conversational. It should be utterly factual and very brief. The slightest whiff of marketing speak or superlatives or stilted language will ruin it.
Here’s an example template:
“Hey $name1! FYI - My friend $name2 does $thing for $industry. We were just chatting and s/he mentioned that s/he helped $industryLeader $hugeWin. Would you like an intro?”
Now it’s your turn.
Reverse roles. Have your friend ask you the same two questions, go through the same scrunch/unscrunch brainstorming, and have them draft a conversational intro.
There are many benefits to this exercise. Here are three:
- It’s private. You’re not changing anything in public. To make the exercise feel even safer, you can agree in advance that you won’t actually make any introductions.
- It’s realistic. This is not you sitting in a dark room thinking really hard about what your positioning should be. This is an outsider reflecting back to you how impenetrable and muddled your current messaging actually is. And it gives you an example of what it should look like if you want normal humans to grok what you do.
- It’s experiential. It’s not an accident that I said to ask your friend the questions before they ask you. The experience of being on the receiving end of your friends soggy answers and helping sharpen their focus into something useful will make you better at letting go of your own soggy mess and recognizing the benefits of a more focused position.
Please do give this a try with a friend if you haven’t already. I’m confident that you’ll both end up with some valuable insights about how to better communicate the unique value your business provides to the world.
Let me know how it goes!
P.S. Friends don’t let friends bill hourly. Gift options available at checkout-> http://hourlybillingisnuts.com
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