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One night a few years back, my husband and I walked the pitch dark street looking for our dog, who’d run off after getting spooked by fireworks. We ran into a neighbor – I’ll call her Mrs. A – who offered an insight about dogs “running blind.” We thanked her and marched on.

I recently referred to this neighbor in conversation as “the alcoholic lady with all the dogs.” My husband was taken aback: “Why do you call her an alcoholic?”

I was surprised, too, and took a moment to review my thought process.

I’d spoken unconsciously and spontaneously, and what came out was true for me. “Because every time I’ve her, she’s been drunk.”

“How many times have you met her?”

“Two.”Message in a Bottle

“So, all two times?”

Apparently, that’s all that was needed for the sorting process in my brain to put her in a folder with an unkind label on it.

The same thing happens with all interactions – including business ones (more on that later).

The process which sorts the world around us into manageable folders happens without thinking and so quickly you couldn’t possibly control it.

Imagine all the stimuli you’re sorting at any given time.

What kind of unconscious decision tree must have run in my mind about Mrs. A? Helpful/unhelpful, safe/unsafe, get to know her / stay away.

Helpful – yes … but unsafe, so stay away.

Are you unconsciously and accidentally provoking mistaken judgements?

Every day someone comes into contact with you or your brand. They meet you in person, visit your website, read your emails, see a post on Facebook, participate in a teleclass or work through your training program.

Impressions form, just as they did for me when meeting my neighbor: labels, thoughts, emotions and more. It happens so fast and subtly that many people won’t even notice that impression.

Later on when talking about it, they might surprise themselves by describing you in very positive, very negative or very personal terms.

Turns out, something meaningful occurred.

That is your brand.

While it seems like “brand” is such an ephemeral thing for experts and entrepreneurs, it is absolutely crucial that you steer the conversation around your business and what you do.

That’s what marketing is – steering the conversation. You do that by giving your clients and your potential clients the words to understand what you do – and talk about your work with others. That is at the core of Jaw-Dropping, Client-Getting Messages.

Ready to steer the conversion your way and get more clients? Join me for the webinar: How to Create Jaw-Dropping, Client-Getting Messages. You’ll discover how to talk about your business in such a compelling way, that potential clients will be reaching for your card in seconds.

Photo: / Flickr