287: How to Stand Out in Your Industry

16 Minutes Read

If you want to win new business and grow, you have to stand out in your industry. Unfortunately there are many ways to do this that don't serve your long-term interests.

Too many business owners opt for paths that include polluting the internet with AI junk, selling in an inauthentic way, or simply leveling up their services without translating that into a message that their customers resonate with.

If you've done the work to create a great product, you need to find a way to let your audience know about it.

In this week's episode you will discover:

  • What it means to be "the best in the world" and how to occupy that position in the minds of your ideal customers
  • The role of social media and online marketing in standing out in your industry and how best to leverage them
  • How to take a strong stand that gets the attention of your best audience without being divisive or obnoxious to do so


How to avoid toxic marketing in your business, podcast

How to be a Trailblazer in Your Industry, blog post

Get the masterclass on being a trailblazer free when you preorder the Superabound book here

If you want a supportive and experienced coach to help you stand out in your industry, we have openings for new VIP one-to-one clients. Learn more and book a consultation here.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple Podcasts here

Listen to it on Spotify here

Watch the video here


Full Transcript

Steve Haase  0:02  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase where business owners like you learn tools that help you clarify vision, clear up static and overcome challenges. You are listening to episode number 287. How to stand out in your industry. Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. If you are a business owner, and you want to be seen, have your phone ring have the leads coming in, have the sales coming in, you are going to want to listen to this episode, we dissect some of the big problems people have either on the selling side, on the customer delivery side, and also on the just being unique having value that stands out in the marketplace. These are things we've thought deeply about, we've worked with our clients on and I think you're really going to love it. We're actually even offering this in a deeper dive format at the end of the month of April. It is a masterclass on how to be a trailblazer in your industry. So if you resonate with what we share in the episode, you are going to love this masterclass, you can learn more at besuperabound.com/trailblazer. And today is all about standing out as a business, how to create a business that actually stands out amidst the noise and separates you from all the other folks that people could choose from.

Erin Aquin  1:33  
So there is a trend that I think is happening in the marketing and sales world right now, across every industry. And I think it's very bad for humanity just stuck at it. I'm just gonna tell you what I think today,

Steve Haase  1:51  
Guardians of the Galaxy over here.

Erin Aquin  1:55  
I just think, you know, what we are seeing a lot of and this is not going to be mind blowing to anyone here, I'm sure you're all aware of this. But we're seeing a lot of very aggressive and divisive marketing, where people will say, everyone else out there trying to do what I'm doing is terrible, and toxic. And the only solution is me and my business. And that is one end of the spectrum, I think it is a really big problem. We we are coaches, we've seen a lot of this in the coaching industry. And we've seen how deeply it has sort of gutted the integrity of what we coaches or consultants do.

Steve Haase  2:45  
And on the other side of that spectrum, there's kind of a spectrum of where people kind of go astray and end up not really standing out as a business. The other side is where rather than spending all of your energy on stop the scroll kind of marketing and the ways to bring as many people into your world, you focus on being as qualified as possible for your offering. Whether it's as a coach, as a therapist or consultant, you just get all the certifications that there are you keep studying and training and up leveling, without actually telling people what, why it matters and why those certifications are going to help them just hoping that you're very impressive bio, will get other people to come through the door and then wondering why it doesn't. And

Erin Aquin  3:41  
I mean, that one, it feels like it would have a lot of integrity to it. We might have gone down this road at some point. You know, I did this when I was even when I was a yoga teacher when I was an acupuncturist. I was just like, if I just stockpile all the certifications, and I'm very knowledgeable, people will just be showing up to my classes. And actually, what I figured out after a lot of pain in that world was it was actually kind of lazy of me. It was like expecting that my potential students would do the work to like go and read all about the things I had done and with somehow know about every amazing teacher I'd studied with and that they would somehow be able to translate my like very long and boring bio into something useful for them. And it was really just putting a lot of work on the plate of a potential client. We see coaches and consultants do this a lot. We see a lot of professionals do this. I I'm looking for a new massage therapist right now. And it's so hard to find someone be cuz all I do is and go and read about these people and where they studied, and like, it's great that they love knitting and cats, I like knitting and cats too, but it doesn't like really tell me about how they helped me what their treatment approach is what I'm gonna get that's different about like from this person versus someone just out of school.

Steve Haase  5:21  
And so the solution to this kind of dichotomy, this problem of either focusing all your attention on sales and marketing, and making sure that people are getting in the door, and that the phone is ringing, or focusing all your attention on being the best you possibly can be, and assuming that, then the phone will ring is to actually make that connection for people, it's to have the integrity to be great, and not just be churning through customers, because you're good at getting them but you can't really service them all that, well. It's having integrity to be great. And then doing the hard work of explaining why that matters to someone. So many people want to go into business, so many business owners do it because they love the craft. They love the thing that they do. And you know, they're not as hot on the sales and marketing side of things. They think well, that's kind of gross, right? My, my art form is pure, and the selling of it is dirty, right? The dirtiness of the marketplace. And getting over that is how you kind of bring these together to actually stand out. Because if you've done the work, you deserve to stand out if your business does it better than anybody else, you owe yourself and potential customers that communication that will bring them in.

Erin Aquin  6:49  
And this is not to be confused with the marketing of sales. That is gross. So I know unfortunately, you know, there are so many people that stop focusing on their craft, they stop thinking about their clients, they do see future customers as walking dollar signs. And they do all they can to be amazing at sales. But that is I think what is hurting so many industries right now, is that over promising and under delivering? Because they're not in equal measure working on their craft. So I know we're kind of saying like, Well, okay, guys, what should we do, then? What should we do, if you're telling us not to over focus on the marketing, and be super salesy and forget about the fact that actually the relationship with your customer begins, when the sale happens, it's not over, it is just beginning and you need to not promise people the moon unless you're going to deliver it. We see a lot of that. I cannot tell you how many DMS and emails I get every day from people trying to sell me on their, like sales services. And they're trying to promise me the moon. It's gross, it is gross, I totally get it. But if because of that, you tend to not sell yourself and not market, you're making your customers work so hard to find you. And that's kind of an entitled, position to take. So what is the solution, Steve? Well,

Steve Haase  8:32  
there's a bunch of things. There's so many things you can do here. Here's one thing that kind of stands out from me, as we talked about this. In order to be chosen as the vendor of choice as in order to make the sale. You have to be the best in the world. And we'll put quotes around that the best in the world. What that means is the best in your customer's world. I was actually just at a networking event A week ago, and connected with some people and told them that I was a coach, and we had a nice conversation. And just this week, they followed up and said, Hey, I have someone that is interested in in coaching. I'm interested in your services. And the reason that I got that call is because I was that you know I at this moment, I am the best in their world. Am I as good as Tony Robbins? Maybe not?

Erin Aquin  9:29  
Maybe so maybe?

Steve Haase  9:33  
Do they know Tony Robbins? Have they connected and said, Hey, how are you doing Tony Robbins? No. And so part of the getting the sale is actually standing out in someone's mind as the best possible choice that they could make. They could scour the internet and find hundreds of 1000s of coaches that they could potentially work with. But I'm the only one that they met in person and had a nice connection with So before you go out and say, How can I ever be better than and then you know, have your list of 10 competitors that you think are way ahead of you. Remember that part of standing out, is being present in somebody's heart in mind. And so that looks like being competent, being confident, and being present. So when you think, what good does it do if I put out this social media post? What good does this email send? Do me when I only have 20 people on my list 200 people on the list 2000 people on my list, each of those things, makes it so that you stand out in somebody's mind. And that matters, that really

Erin Aquin  10:44  
matters. Another thing that came up, as you were talking about that is what I think keeps people from standing out is that they also just try to be like, mimicking whoever their teachers were. So this can happen in both directions. This can happen if you're hyper qualified, you might just be like a carbon copy of your favorite teacher. This can also happen if you are overly salesy, and you don't, you haven't invested the time and energy to create original content or original tools. And you are just like a carbon copy of whatever you learned in your foundational training. That's all very noisy. And it doesn't necessarily like you could be posting 10 social media posts a day. But if it's always someone else's thoughts, someone else's work, someone else's approach. You know, I think sometimes podcasters do this. We're podcasters people, this is a podcast, you can listen to this on all those platforms. I think sometimes podcast hosts will forget that. When you are on your show, even if you're interviewing someone, the point is that for your audience, you want to be an expert in that space. And it doesn't mean like an expert like you're telling them how it is. And being aggressive and divisive. It might just be you are the trusted voice that your listeners go to, when they're considering something you want to be in their mind. And there's so many amazing podcasts, where I forget that like the host never promotes themselves. All they do is talk about how great other guests are. And they they're never like, oh, well, I'm also a an executive coach. And I work with people all the time. And these are the people I work with. And these are the people that appreciate what I do. We, we love a great informative piece of content, we don't have a great show. But at the same time, don't forget that you posting on social media, making a podcast, writing a book, it should fit into the whole process of your sales and marketing. Your your bid, you're probably unless you are like a librarian, you're not really in the business of just promoting other people's ideas. And if you really want to be a trailblazer, you want to be somebody that stands out, you have to be willing to present your own ideas and tools. You know, it'd be very easy for us to do a podcast or sorry, I'm just smacking Steve. Where we simply coach and we show people, this is our coaching style. But you would not know anything about us you would not know whether we are the coaches for you. If you saw me coach, one of my longtime clients, or you saw Steve coach, one of his, you would see that relationship and that interaction, you wouldn't necessarily Sara Lee see yourself as the client. So in this space, we share a lot of our opinions, a lot of ideas. We talk about how we do things differently, we show how we do things differently. And that makes us attractive to some people as potential coaches, and it will turn some people off. Some people will just not not like us at all. And that's they're allowed. You

Steve Haase  14:25  
even want that. If you are creating your own path that turns some people off, then you're probably not taking strong enough position in what you believe and how you think your area should be handled.

Erin Aquin  14:42  
How do you do that without being divisive? And like, like, awful though, like because I think some people have taken that and they're like, I've got to be controversial about everything. And I've got to be pithy and to the point and like drive it home.

Steve Haase  14:53  
And I think you do it by being strong in what you believe and in how you see that. Have the best results coming forward. Like some people will say, you have to follow steps XYZ, you just have to do it this way. And there are people who will say, Yeah, I want that I resonate with that. And there are others who will say, there are no possible steps that I could give you that will be the answer. You have to discover the steps. And there are people who say, Yes, I want that. I believe that. But if you just say, I don't know, I'll coach you, then who knows

Erin Aquin  15:25  
what that is no knows what that

Steve Haase  15:27  
means, right? There's no way to connect with that. And so if you are the which way, choose your own adventure, coach or consultant or service provider, there will be people who say, Oh, yeah, that's me. You have to make room for people to find themselves in what you offer. Yes.

Erin Aquin  15:44  
Okay. So this is so important. Stop being a chameleon maybe like to be a trailblazer, you have to have a position you have to be not a not an aggressive one, necessarily. That is just my opinion. If you love being aggressive, go for it. But I don't like it. As a customer. I'm like, No. In order to blaze a trail, you have to pick a path, you have to be decisive enough to go forward. And a lot of times, people are such chameleons in their business that they're willing to adapt and shift. And that is actually just such a waste of your energy. So choose, choose what your messaging is, or choose how you want to be a trailblazer in the world. And I will share that my preference is to be myself. For a long time, this actually happened when I was when I was primarily doing acupuncture. I used to because I was pretty young. And I had a lot of clients who were had a lot more life experience than me. So I wore my lab coat a lot, at first just to like give myself a little bit of authority. And I was very serious, like along with lab coats, like we had to do that in our clinic. But when I started my own practice, I was like, I'm gonna wear my lab coat. So like I had this like coat of respect, it made me feel better for a little while. But I realized that it wasn't really actually true to me to put on like a stoic, serious face, and meet people. I just tried to be more serious looking. So that I thought people would accept me. But then I realized all the people coming to me, most of them were my yoga students, they knew me in a very different context. And I was like putting on a mask of myself to be taken more seriously, because of my own kind of bullshit thoughts about it. And it wasn't great in connection with people. So a few a few years ago, I just decided the way I blazed a trail is warmth. I want to be the person as a coach, especially that people can come to you with pretty much anything. And they will know that they are in a judgment free place, they will know that I'm totally with them. I will let my presence speak and my warmth and my humor, some things. Lead, I will not be a robotic coach who has no opinions ever, I will not hold back the moments when I think you might need a thinking partner on this. And I'm here for that if you're ready for it.

Steve Haase  18:33  
And you know, what I think really makes the difference for you is not just the warmth, it's the warmth connected to what your client needs. Right? Because the the thing that I'm going to go ahead and pump up my business partner here, the thing that inspires me most about you, Erin,Aquin that i'Haase where about what's gonna be most helpful, what's gonna, what's going to resonate with people so that they can actually use it, it's not about you, you, you use that insight about yourself to be more effective for your clients. And so when when we're encouraging you to double down on yourself, it's in this in service of what your industry needs, of what the marketplace needs. So that if if warmth is what's most resonant with you lead with warmth in service of your clients. If research and rigor and authority resonates with you, lead with that and service of your clients. That way you you have the best of all worlds, right? You become the hyper qualified person, not necessarily through what you're learning, but through how you're being and you're connecting it to the real problems that your market has. And then what that enables is they can connect with you because the thing that matters in the end is the relay Friendship, it's the human connection. You know, I have I have clients that are in the legal field. And, you know, you would think the thing that matters is solving the problem getting the settlement, but the relationships are what actually enable the business to happen, or would enable communication to flow and for the positive outcomes to occur. So, if you're putting up a false front, because that's how you think you're supposed to be in your space, you are blocking people from connecting with you, and you won't be able to serve them as well. Yeah,

Erin Aquin  20:32  
you're making it harder for your clients. And, and you're probably going to attract people who are not the right people for you. When I was in the chameleon zone, my own business, before I really had strong tools and concepts that we love, and that we use, I remember working with some people who really did believe in their heart of hearts that the way to create what they wanted in their life was to be very hard on themselves, like, and I quote, to kick their own assets. And they, it's possible, I don't know, if you really flexible iron. But they really believe that and then they wanted me to be like some kind of Enforcer. They wanted me to be like a very overpaid accountability partner. And it was not comfortable for me. I didn't want to do it. I kept kind of following my own agenda of like, well, what if we just tried this with a little more kindness? What if we, like, you know, we were working, I was working against my clients because of their belief. And I would have avoided that whole problem. If I had just said, I don't believe in that approach. That's not how I do it. I actually think that approach is totally backwards. And I'm never going to do that to my clients. If you really want someone who's going to do that I can find I can read, I can recommend some people who I know love to be boot camps. What do they call a former drill sergeants, sergeants, I'm like, I don't even know what it's called anymore. It's not in my vocabulary. But that's helpful. I can use like a silly example, about this if you don't if you're not a consultant, it sounds silly example. But I once like this was at a hair salon. I once went to get my hair cut. And the person I'm not kidding, you took two hours to cut my hair wash, come here, this, I did not have this much hair, two hours to Wash and cut my hair. I was almost late to pick up my children. They were like in preschool back then. And this woman would just like cut, cut, cut chat, chat chat, talk to whoever came in Walker, like she was just all over the place. And while I'm sure that her loving clients who wanted who would like look in for social events, with their hair cut, and really just wanted to be there all day and wanted like to drink six cups of tea. I'm sure they loved her. But at the time, I remember just I don't even think I actually dried my hair, I think I had to leave, I was like I need to leave. This is what I got to go. Never went back, told some people never to go because I didn't I have friends who Time is money and didn't want to waste their time. If only this person had marketed herself, first of all, putting two hours as the appointment time and said, This is a luxurious experience. We're very social here, I chat with everybody that comes in, you're going to feel like you're at a party music's nice and loud. That would have been amazing if that's what I was looking for us or customer. Because I was not I would have appreciated knowing that. So that I could have found someone who was going to be fast, professional, efficient, and do a good job, which I have now. Oh no, I like my hair. I like my hair and that wash color out of there and like an hour and a half. And it'll stay for days. So a smaller experience. But if you own a salon, and that's your world, tell people how you work. tell people what's different about your experience. Let your best customers find you and let the other people find their best person.

Steve Haase  24:28  
So this is all how you interface the who you are with what the market wants. And it's not going to be everybody. But as long as it's connected with enough somebody's and you are really standing out, you know, kind of blue glasses style to take a page out of Seth Godin book. I didn't choose these because of Seth but every now and then I'm like the kind of like Seth Godin 's yellow glasses,

Erin Aquin  24:55  
not a trailblazer then Steve if you need different They're blue though trailblazing, right.

Steve Haase  25:03  
But like, as long as you have that thing that really, that you can double down on and just lights you up, then you create that space for people to find themselves in your world. And then you create that relationship. And that is how you welcome new customers. That's how you keep those customers, and how you bring referrals and repeat business into your world. So we are hosting a masterclass on this, we're gonna go much deeper into all these topics at besuperabound.com/trailblazer. And we would love to see you there at the class.

Erin Aquin  25:48  
This is also where we are going to teach you how to trailblaze in your specific industry. So it's not going to just be like some nice ideas, we will give you some nice ideas, but you will walk away from that class with some touchstones for how you can shift your messaging, how you can clarify with your current and future and potential clients, or customers, why they do want to work with you, and you could attract those best people. And best of all, because I've what we've said, what I've said many times today, we will not be doing it with divisive or aggressive marketing, we will not be over promising and under delivering we will not be like talking to third graders or any of that nonsense, like stuff that that I think we're all used to and may be sick of. Yeah, not to get divisive, but I'm sick of being told and make it simple. As a third grader know what we do is complicated what your customers need is probably going to take longer than 30 days. Right?

Steve Haase  27:00  
Maybe. And so not only will you have those insights, those techniques, but also we're gonna work on the inner game of being a trailblazer because so often, what's actually in the way is your belief about yourself, your static about what you're capable of, of your standing in the marketplace. And, you know, maybe if you just had one more certification, no, you don't need one more certification. It's really about your own ability to tap into your well, of creativity, of purpose of passion. And so we're going to give you some specific exercises and practices to do exactly that. So that you can stand out in your most authentic way that attracts your best customers.

Erin Aquin  27:48  
Hope to see you in the class and have a great week.