Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Chalkboard Factor: 7 Profitable Practices for Positioning Yourself as a Teacher

Everyone loves a teacher.

Unless you attended one of those parochial schools where the nuns used to beat you with rulers while you recited scriptures and cried for dear life as your ass slowly turned beet-red.

But enough about my childhood.

Now that you’re all grows up and all grows up, it’s time to leverage the power of teaching from a business perspective.

GUARANTEE: If you execute it effectively AND eloquently, teaching can become your most powerful marketing, branding, sales, networking and positioning strategy.

Here’s why...

Teaching is attractive. If you teach, people are more likely to like you. And if people like you, they are more likely to buy from you. After all, people DO buy people first.

Just imagine how much more buyable you would become if people pereceived you in that capacity. How many sales have you forfeited because you were selling instead of teaching?

Teaching is the great catchall. Teaching means authority. Teaching means credibility. And teaching means expertise. These are the byproducts of positioning yourself as a teacher.

And the best part is, this position increases the probability that your words will be noticed, listened to, accepted and acted upon. How would your career be different if you were pereceived as a teacher?

Teachers outshine experts. Experts are morons. Thanks the democratization of information, everyone and their mother is an expert. Which means nobody is an expert. Not a real one, that is.

I challenge you to start at the top. Position yourself as a teacher first. Then, you WILL be an expert. And you will compete on the basis of thought leadership. Not price, not service – thought leadership. And you will do so (not) because you up and decided to do so – but because customers SAID you were so. Huge difference. Are you an expert or a teacher?

Teach precedes selling. If it’s the other way around, it’s going to be an uphill battle. As Brian Clark, award-wining writer of Copyblogger and the creator of Teaching Sells explains, “When you come rushing out of the gate selling, it's easy for people to resist.

But when you establish yourself as a teacher who people have bonded with, it gets much harder to say no by the time the transaction is proposed.” So: The more you teach, the less you sell. Period. Are you giving a sales pitch or delivering a lesson plan?

SO, HERE’S THE BIG QUESTION: How are you positioning yourself as a teacher?

If your answer is, “I ain’t doin’ so good at that,” let’s explore a list of seven profitable practices for leveraging The Chalkboard Factor:

Poll your past. Think back to the best (non-school) teachers you ever had. Next, make a list of their positive attributes. Then, make a list of the actions those people took to position themselves as teachers.

Finally, ask yourself how well you’re personifying those attributes and executing those practices in your Thought Leadership life. This is the best first step for evaluating your current teacher status. Where do you rank on the teacher scale?

2. Figure out what you’re the answer to. It’s simple: People go to Google for one reason, and one reason only: Pornography. Just kidding. (But not really.) Anyway, people go to Google to solve their problems.

To find answers. Therefore, you need to be the person TEACHING those answers. “Solve problems that are real, expensive, urgent and pervasive,” says marketing genius, David Newman. Because if you’re just spewing a steady stream of “information,” you’re toast. What are you known for knowing?

3. Learn to accept the fact that you’re a writer. As a Thought Leader, the number of people in my industry who don’t write every day constantly floors me. It’s not only stupid – it’s stealing money out of their wallets. Look:

Writing is the basis of all wealth. Period.
Writing makes everything you do easier and better. Period.
And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Period.

So, here’s your mission: Start with fifteen minutes a day. That’s it. That’s all I ask. 1/100th of your day. If you can’t swing that, positioning yourself as a teacher is going to be a lot more painful than just a nun’s ruler. What did you write today?

4. Be the OG. No, not the Original Gangsta. In the Thought Leadership world, those two letters mean “The Source.” The Origin. The Initiator. The First. The One. The Only. So, in your blogs, articles and tweets, don’t link to items of interest – BE the item of interest.

Don’t retweet all day. Otherwise people will assume you’ve got nothing original to say. Instead, post enough solid value that people retweet YOU all day. That’s what I personally do to become more retweetable. Remember: Broadcasting borrowed attitudes and spouting secondhand wisdom is the vestibule of failure. Are you an echo?

5. Locate your classroom. The choices are significantly higher, cooler and more diverse than they used to be. Blogs. Twitter. Webinars. Teleconferences. Second Life. Take your pick.

You don’t need to stand on a street corner with a giant sandwich board anymore. The world is your classroom. It’s time to put some butts in seats. Even if it’s just one. That’s still an audience. Sister Mary Ignatius would be proud. Where are you teaching?

REMEMBER: Teachers outshine experts any day of the week.

I challenge you to leverage the power of the chalkboard. You will become more credible, more approachable, more buyable and more listenable in the eyes of your customers.

Although you might want to put some ice on those ruler scars first.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you take your business write into wealth?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Must Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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