_”Speaker, Entrepreneur, Award-Winning Copywriter, Sales & Marketing Expert, Internet Pioneer, Facilitator, Name Developer, Consultant, Author, Whitewater Paddler, Martial Artist, Idea Generator, Advisor” – that’s how “Michel Neray”:http://www.essentialmessage.com/ (at right with his daughter – photo by Yuri Dojc) describes himself. Michel created The Essential Message for consultants, advisors, coaches and other independent professionals who are tired of pushing so hard to get sales, and are looking for a better way to differentiate, position and brand themselves. As a long time reader of his newsletter I wanted to ask Michel five questions about how the Essential Message concept fits into the world of Internet free agents._
*One Degree: What do you mean by “Essential Message”?*
Let me start the answer to that one by telling you what it’s not. Unlike what most people think when they are first introduced to the idea on an Essential Message, it is not an elevator speech, infomercial or (if you’re old enough to remember this one) your cocktail talk.
These things are all 30-second summaries that you have to memorize, rehearse and spit out without thinking. As a result, elevator pitches end up being boring, contrived one-way communication full of generic statements that make you sound like everyone else.
Look, there are two fundamental ways to go about your sales and marketing. The first way takes you down a road that begins with the question, “How can I modify my services or change the way I speak to people about what I do, in order to appeal to the maximum number of people I encounter?”
The second way takes you down a road that begins with the question, “How can I gain greater clarity about who I really am and my true value, so that my clarity and confidence attracts more of the people who want what I have to offer?”
That’s how you truly differentiate, position and brand yourself. And that’s what your Essential Message is all about. So, when you talk about your business – whether you’re at a networking event, across a boardroom table or on a beach in Mexico, it comes out naturally and conversationally.
*One Degree: Has the Internet changed the importance of having an Essential Message?*
Even if you didn’t have a website and the only marketing you ever did was go to networking events, developing your Essential Message would still be the most important thing you could do. What the Internet has done is make it easier to put your Essential Message out to more people.
When your Essential Message is clear, it will actually turn off some people but attract more people who want what you have to offer. The Internet makes it easier for those people to find out about you – from wherever they are in the world.
In a way, this relates to the difference between a scarcity mentality and an abundance mentality. Without the Internet or without a compelling, powerful Essential Message, you’re trapped in scarcity. With the Internet and a compelling, powerful Essential Message, however, it’s all about abundance.
*One Degree: Since many Internet marketers (including many of One Degree’s contributors) are free agents, I find it interesting that you work with a lot of consultants, coaches, contractors, small business people, public speakers, etc. What is the value of an Essential Message for free agents?*
The biggest trap that free agents fall into is looking and sounding like everyone else in the eyes and ears of the client – after all, there are a gazillion people with the same thing written on their business cards. So how does one consultant differentiate him or herself from the millions of other consultants who appear to do the same thing? Ditto for coaches, contractors, public speakers and so many other independent service professionals?
The only way out of that trap is how they differentiate, position and brand themselves. Again, that’s what your Essential Message is all about.
Here is where independent professionals have a huge advantage over large, faceless corporations – and I wish more of them would take advantage of it on their websites. You see, part of the strength of an Essential Message is to humanize your business and give the prospect or site visitor a sense of what it would be like to work with you. Large corporations, as much as they are scrambling to inject more personality into their branding, simply can’t do it as easily or as credibly as an individual can.
Unfortunately, too many independent professionals are trying really hard to look and sound corporate. What a waste!
*One Degree: How important has the Internet been in the success of your business?*
You already know the answer to that one – it’s played a huge part of the success of my business. Partly because my own Essential Message is clear, and partly because the Internet has afforded me to opportunity to get my Essential Message out to more people, I get calls and people subscribing to my newsletter from all over the world.
*One Degree: What’s one thing that One Degree readers can do to start developing their own Essential Message?*
These days, everything seems to be about quick fixes and simple steps to achieve anything unbelievable riches. But, I have learned two “truths” about what it takes to develop your Essential Message – and this may not be what your readers want to hear: 1 – you probably can’t do it alone, and, 2 – it takes time.
That said, here are three things you can do starting today: First, go to a lot of networking events – not to give and get as many business cards as you can, but rather to experiment with how you describe your business and learn what interests other people most about what you do and how you do it. Second, start getting all the stuff that’s in your head onto paper. The more you write about it, even if you’re not a writer, the clearer your ideas will become and the better you will be able to communicate them. Third, subscribe to my newsletter. I give a lot away in my newsletters and getting that ‘hit’ every couple of weeks really does help you develop your “Essential Message”:http://www.essentialmessage.com/. Besides, they’re short and fun to read!