“What’s in it for me?” asks your hypothetical client. When it comes to formulating your value proposition, this question is at the center of it. It’s about establishing what makes you relevant to your clients and their needs. It’s about compelling them so they stay interested in you and what you have to say. As Bill Cates puts it, it’s about being “compellevant”.
Bill is the author of Radical Relevance: Sharpen Your Value Proposition, Cut Through the Noise, and Win More Clients. He was also my featured guest on episode #901 of Onward Nation, where we talked all about Bill’s take on compellevance and how to score referrals from your clients.
Compellevance, according to Bill, is exactly what it sounds like. When you approach a prospective client, you want your proposals to be heavily related to your client’s niche. The brain is naturally wired to try and conserve calories and energy, and a client who has to work hard to understand what you’re saying is going to lose interest. Staying relevant means learning your dream clients’ industries inside and out. Read up on it. Learn the lingo. Live and breathe it. Wear their company mascot’s costume if you have to.
That last one may be a stretch, but you get the idea. You need to demonstrate to these potential partners that you know what they want and that you know you’re the one for the job. It can’t be done simply by trying to tailor your offer to every Tom, Dick, and Harry off the street. The best clients have unique niches, so the most relevant partner would also occupy that niche. Bill is quick to assure us that you can have multiple verticals and multiple niches, just as long as you aren’t trying to attract any old client.
Upon reaching relevance, it’s time to compel and “wow” the client. Neuroscience tells us that emotion is one of the most significant contributors to decision-making. If a client doesn’t feel an emotional connection to you and what you’re saying, they probably won’t bite. These clients are looking for a “soulmate”, and your goal is to prove to them that you’re exactly that.
Finding your right-fit client means seeking out and solidifying that bond through empathy and emotional connection. Not only do you need to know about your client; you need to care about your client. Put yourself directly into their shoes, walk around in them for a mile or so, and feel the pain points. Feel what they feel. When you have them in the room, you’re ready to present them with Bill Cates’s alternating current metaphor: alternate between reminding them of your relevance and compelling them emotionally.
The emotional connection doesn’t mean your sales pitch shouldn’t have facts, figures, and statistics in it. It just means that those facts, figures, and statistics should spark an emotional reaction in the client. This is going to vary by client and industry, but if you tell a small business that 50% of small businesses fail by their fifth year, their ears are bound to perk up.
Putting it all together, the ultimate goal is to ENGAGE your client. Why? Not just to score new prospects, no. Studies show that satisfied clients are loyal, but only 20% of them would give you a referral. Wowza, that’s a disappointing figure! The key is engagement. Keeping your clients compelled and reminding them of your relevance will keep them engaged in the process. When they’re fully invested, they’ll refer you to their friends, their neighbors, and their dog. All because you knew about them and cared about them. All because you were compellevant.