(This article was written by Rick Dacri and was published in the York County Coast Star on November 27, 2013)
Staging is an essential component in selling a house. Realtors claim houses sell faster and buyers pay more for a house that is properly staged. Turning the house you live in into the home a buyers wants to purchase, is often a simple matter of improving curb appeal, sprucing up the inside, adding some fine accessories, and voila…a sale.
Staging is also crucial to positioning your career. Whether you’re a solo professional, consultant, lawyer or realtor, how you present yourself and how you are perceived are critical. And similar to house buying, where staging helps to differentiate, in a professional career, positioning yourself as a go-to person separates you from the pack.
When viewed as an expert, your stature is elevated, your demand is increased, and your competition is eliminated, allowing you the luxury of increasing your fees, choosing whom you do business, and vastly expanding your reach.
So how do you stand out from the crowd? Here are 10 differentiators:
- Packaging: Curb appeal is critical for initially grabbing a home buyer’s attention. You need it too. How you dress, speak, and present yourself are important. And don’t blow it with poor grooming, unpolished shoes and a cheap pen. Look and act professional…always.
- Command attention: Exuding confidence is the fastest way to draw attention. Wishy-washy sycophants, who try to blend in, are generally ignored and marginalized. Confidence draws people like nails to a magnet. Develop a presence.
- Be an object of interest: Take positions; be contrarian; be passionate; and be interesting. Learn to tell stories. Provide clarifying examples. To be able to do this you first must be experienced, well read, a great listener, and open to differing viewpoints. Expose yourself to varying perspectives and ideas. Don’t be one-dimensional. And be nimble on your feet. Command the language and you control the conversation.
- Hang with the best: Reach out to other smart people. You want to keep the company of those who will challenge you and expose you to divergent theories and opinions. You don’t want to be the smartest one in the room—you cannot learn and grow that way. Raise your bar and surround yourself with other successful people. And remember, you’re judged by the company you keep.
- Stop regurgitating the same old: Always be thinking of new ideas and concepts. Create new intellectual property. And don’t hoard it for fear of loss. Share your ideas widely. The more you give away, the more people will want to buy. Remember, smart people with new ideas, stand out.
- Practice shameless self-promotion: “It ain’t bragging if you can do it” is the apt quote attributed to baseball legend Dizzy Dean. In this competitive world, being silent makes you invisible. Don’t become the best kept secret. Use your name as much as you can and get known. Only when you toot your horn can you make music.
- Find your voice: Write articles, give speeches and presentations. Author a book and develop a relationship with the media. Speak with enthusiasm and passion. Be on. Using various mediums to showcase your expertise is a clear brand differentiator.
- Be attentive to your clients: So many talk customer service, few practice it. Respond to phone calls and emails within hours, not days. Deliver what you promise. Listen to needs. Help your clients to be successful. Always improve their position.
- Stake out a position: Write letters to the editor; columns in the newspaper; blog; and be a source for a reporter. Remember, if you’re an expert, act like one. And always be accessible.
- Develop stature and firepower: Before you can position yourself as an expert, you’ve got to be one. Do your homework. Invest in yourself. Fine-tune your skills. Get a professional coach to guide you. Remember, being all flash with no substance is a brand killer.
Stand out from the crowd. Become an object of conversation. When you have something that people want, your phone will ring. In good economic times or bad ones, those who have something to offer and have positioned themselves well, will always successful. So if you’ve got what it takes, stage it.
If this post was of interest, you may also want to read these:
- Consulting: Taking the Plunge
- Book Promotion: The Strategy of Promotion
- Thought Leadership: Positioning Yourself as The Industry Guru