It sounds simple enough: If you want to influence someone’s perception of you, you must lead him or her to your particular strengths. This certainly makes a lot of sense, but doing it in a repeatable, predictable manner is a whole different story. The first step to leading someone to your unique strengths is to simply identify what those strengths may be. Easy? I cannot begin to tell you how many of my clients get stuck right here.
To really understand your strengths or to find your unique niche, make a list of the areas you feel competent and even exceptional. To do this, you need to begin with the end in mind… literally. For example:
- If you are a financial advisor, there’s nothing extraordinary about telling a client you believe in customer service; join the club. By offering a process that provides a guaranteed response time to clients, however, you are identifying one of your unique, and defined strengths.
- If you are an accountant, there’s nothing extraordinary about telling a new prospect you believe in getting the work done correctly the first time; they certainly hope that is the case. By offering a method of checks and balances that proves your work is accurate, however, is protecting your clients and clearly one of your unique and defined strengths.
- If you are applying for a job, there’s nothing extraordinary about telling a company that you have an interest in social media and you think it’s an important issue for businesses: They hear that from time-to-time. By offering a strong and well documented track record of your successes in social media, you are letting them know about one of your unique and defined strengths.
Once you understand your unique strengths, the next step is to provide questions that link to these strengths. Let’s continue with the same scenarios you just read about:
- If you are a financial advisor whose unique strength is providing a guaranteed response time to clients, why not bring the client to this strength with these kinds of questions: “How do you currently communicate with your advisor?” or “How long does it currently take for you to receive answers to the questions you ask?”
- If you are an accountant whose unique strength is offering a method of checks and balances that proves the work you do is accurate, why not bring the client to this strength by asking something like this: “How do you currently keep up with the accuracy of your business accounting throughout the year?” or “What are some of the checks and balances you use to monitor your corporate accounting?”
- If you are applying for a job, and your unique strength is offering a strong and well documented track record of success connecting with your customers, why not bring the interviewer to this strength by asking this: “How are you currently working to interact with your customers?” or “What social media outlets are you using to create interest in your corporate brand?”
Leading others to your particular strengths is not rocket science – it’s common sense. But nothing happens until you understand what your particular strengths are. Once that’s clear, you’ll be able to ask the right questions to draw others to these strengths. That’s because drawing someone to your strengths isn’t accomplished through statements; it’s accomplished through questions.