A Symbiotic Clientele Begins with Your Core Message

Do you want clients who you enjoy working with and with whom you do your best work? If so, then understanding your core message is vital.

Five apples on a counter, the fourth one eaten down to the core

Apples are healthy. But if you don’t eat down to the core, it’s just pretty fruit on the shelf.

It’s an essential element in any marketing plan and should be your first step in developing a plan.

Marketers often don’t focus on a client’s core message. They beat around the bush asking questions like: What are you selling? Who are your potential buyers? What needs do you fill? What emotional gratification are you providing?

Those are external messages. That’s what you are going to do for your clients. Important questions to be sure. But the core message I want you to envision is internal. It’s YOUR purpose. It’s how YOU impact the world around you. It’s YOUR mission, the reason YOU are here on earth. It’s why YOU chose the business you chose – or possibly – why the business or profession chose you.

You may be asking: Why should I selfishly focus on myself rather than on my clients’ needs? Because the two are not mutually exclusive. They are, in fact, symbiotic. If you truly wish to service your clients with all you have, you must know where you are coming from, from within, from your heart and your soul. That’s how you make connections, true connections, that lead you to a mutual business high.

As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, noted, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

Regardless of your religious beliefs, most of us concede humans are connected on some spiritual level. Making symbiotic connections bring happiness to both sides. Making a living is simply a byproduct. A prosperous byproduct.

In Book Yourself Solid, business coach Michael Port touches on the concept of a core message by urging business people to write a “Why You Do It” statement.

Potential clients, he writes, “will want to know if they can connect with you on an emotional, philosophical, or even spiritual level. They’ll want to know if they can connect with your ‘why you do it’ statement—the reason you do what you do, what you stand for. The reason you get up every day to do the work that you do. Those who resonate with your ‘why you do it’ statement will feel it on a deep level and be strongly, almost magically, attracted to you.”

Now, who doesn’t want clients magically attracted to them?

I first stumbled on the idea of a core message as an intricate part of a marketing plan when I read professional speaker and comedian Judy Carter’s book, The Message of You. Here’s how Carter describes The Message of You:

“The Message of You is a distillation of all of your experiences, both personal and professional, that have formed the narrative or meaning of your life.”

But, Carter warns, you cannot do it alone.

“The wrinkle is, the Message of You is usually not obvious. Most of the time, the meaning of our lives is invisible to us. We can’t be objective about our own journey. We can’t see how our life influences others. We are so busy living we don’t take note of the steps we took to find success. Yet, these are the very things that make people want to listen and know more about us.”

Life is a series of happy accidents. I had been thinking about how to incorporate core messages into small business marketing plans when a business colleague fortuitously asked me to help her find her core message.

I diligently drew up a five-week plan of probing questions designed to draw out her core message. I sent her the first week’s questions and we met a week later. We reviewed her answers and talked. I asked a lot more questions based on her written answers and her in-person answers. I told her I would send her the next list of questions.

Instead, I threw out next four lesson plans. They were no longer relevant. The questions I needed to ask came from analyzing the answers I already had received. My reporter training kicked in. If this led to that, what led to this in the first place? How did that impact you physically and emotionally? Did you laugh or become sick to your stomach? Why?

Here are the first four questions I asked my colleague and subsequent clients and that you should explore with a trusted guide to get you started on your discovery:

1) What is your soapbox—the thing that you just can’t shut up about that comes up over and over again? Ask three friends or family members what they think it is.

2) What do you believe in that you think everyone else should believe too?

3) If you could make one significant change in the world, what would it be?

4) In 20 words or less, summarize your core message.

Summarizing your core message is asked at the end of every session. Finding your core message is a process. One discovery leads to the next. Write and revise. No. 1 is an eye-opener for most. If you do nothing else from this exercise, ask three friends or family members what it is you can’t shut up about and what comes up over and over again.

Then ask yourself why. It can be intimidating, to be sure, but as poet May Sarton said, “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

Dare to be yourself by discovering your core message. Doing so will allow you to find symbiotic clients. Your work will always be enjoyable, and profitable.


Related content:

8 Tips to Attract and Educate Potential Clients with a Blog

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at Tom@YourConsistentVoice.com.


One response to this post.

  1. Very thought provoking, Tom – and helpful to me with my message. Thanks.



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