Thursday, August 20, 2009

10 Ways To Get Noticed By Andrew Lucy

In his book, The Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable, author Seth Godin speaks of the need to continuously differentiate and then re-differentiate to stay ahead of the game and “beat the competition”.

In looking for any new job opportunity, you must see yourself as the product and the employer as the customer. How do you stand out and convince the employer to choose you?

This can also work the opposite way around — as an employer, you want the best candidate to “buy-in” and join you, making you the product and the prospective employee your customer!

Either way, why not first exploit the same principles we all use to attract “real customers” and re-apply them to the task of landing a dream job or dream candidate?

So, how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd without donning a fancy dress costume?

I believe there are 10 basic and easily followed traits and actions that can help (eight of which were first prescribed by Richard St John in his book, 8 To Be Great: The 8 Traits That Lead To Great Success).

1. Passion

This is at the top of the list and is often referred to as “fire in the belly”. If you enjoy what you do and who you do it with, feel motivated, acknowledged and rewarded for it, money becomes secondary. But it will come, as a natural consequence of the passion you have and the success to which that drive leads.

2. Hard work

Realise that results should, and will, be rewarded, but don’t ignore effort and hard work. They are essential and need to be encouraged and recognised, whether or not there is an immediate pay off in dollars and cents.

As an employer, dismantle the fear culture and bring on the incentives. Even a donkey will kick out against the stick eventually, but he will always follow the carrot.

3. Practise

Get really good at something. Listen, question, practise, learn — and always think!

4. Focus

Don’t run around trying to do everything. Concentrate and excel process by process. If you are the employee, showcase your top skills. If you are the employer, your primary business and the culture you establish are your key attractions.

5. Keep pushing

As an employee, push through shyness, self-doubt and being passed over. Find a mentor and let him or her help you grow. Then move on to the next opportunity.

As an employer, press on through downturns by valuing and preserving your staff and communicating with them. One day, it will be you who needs them more and they will return the favour with their loyalty and wholehearted support, rather than through grudging self-preservation.

6. Build a service culture

Don’t just offer service. Give your customers, employers and employees something they want or need, and for which they are prepared to pay or work to obtain and keep. Make your culture one that serves something of real value.

7. Persist

Never give up and don’t let negative people hold you down! Everyone fails now and then. The winners are those that seek the distinctive “purple cow”, swim through the sludge, turn it to manure and reap the harvest.

8. Let the ideas flow

Good ideas come from observation, curiosity, asking questions, solving problems, networking, connecting and risk-taking!

No one can ever become remarkable by conforming — sometimes it is best to simply go with your gut.

9. Accept feedback

Warmly embrace criticism, complaints and failure as useful feedback. Only through your mistakes can you grow, learn and improve. Then can you become truly remarkable.

10. Connect with people

Communicate with your customers, your employees, your employers and your colleagues on an emotional level not just a commercial one.

But, more than that: delight each other! Always go beyond what is necessary to close the deal and provide not just what is expected, but what is needed. Those are things that you can only discover by listening more than you speak.

Remember that when you pay for attention, it becomes merely advertising and hyperbole, and people think that you are just trying to sell them something.

Instead, win loyalty from your new customers and your old ones, and from your staff and your employers. Loyalty is generated by people feeling good about you and spreading the word.

While marketing can sustain you and may bring in a few more leads, loyalty and the brand image that comes with it can truly grow your business and your reputation — and make you an employer or employee of choice.

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