When I was a young girl, all I ever wanted to do was ‘fit in’ with the rest of the kids in school. I never wanted to be singled out or ‘different’. The thought of that could send a young girl into a tizzy! I just wanted to blend in.

That kind of thinking today however, is detrimental to any interior design business! As a business owner there’s nothing more important than setting yourself apart from everyone else so you can get the attention of and draw in more customers. After all, why would someone choose to work with you if they can’t tell you apart from anyone else… bland and blending in?

So, I ask you… how different are you from the next interior designer? Do your jobs look alike, how have you set yourself apart? Are you a thought leader? Are you ready to differentiate yourself? LinkedIn is a POWERFUL networking tool and one that you too could be using to promote your interior design business today! Below I’ve listed 5 ways to differentiate yourself on LinkedIn –

1. Create a headline that…
a) Grabs instant attention
b) Proves to me your value
c) Makes me want to know more about you.

For example, check out these headlines…

• From Skip Weisman’s profile: Client Admits Losing 5 Million Dollars Because of Poor Workplace Communication! Could You Be Making the Same Mistakes?

Notice how this headline makes you stop and think – “Wow, if Skip uncovered the reason why a client lost 5 million dollars, I wonder how much money he could stop me from losing.”

• From Judith Lindenberger’s profile – Discover why Bristol Myers Squib, American Express & AstraZeneca invest in this WSJ featured HR expert, & Consultant

Notice how Judith sets herself apart by mentioning the large company names she works with and by showing that she is a Wall Street Journal featured expert. She is adding credibility elements.

2. Stop making your summary sound like an “All About the Author” section.
We recently completed a Live Video Profile Review for an immigration lawyer and this was his summary…

“Carlos Batara is an attorney who specializes in immigration law. A large percentage of his practice is focused on immigration trials and appeals.”

“Carlos was the former chairperson for the American Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Division, Immigration Law Committee. Throughout his career, he has served on many local, state, and federal government boards and commissions. He speaks professionally on a variety of immigration and political issues.”

This sounds like it should be on the back of a hardcover book in the ‘about the author’ section.  The only thing missing is “Carlos lives in New York City with his wife and two dogs.”  It certainly doesn’t make me want to learn anything more about him as an individual or businessman. It’s even in third person which does nothing to help the reader relate to him on a human level.  How can you make a connection with someone like that?

3. Use your ‘Experience Section’ as a way to show prospects exactly what you can do for them. Don’t let it sound like a resume. For example, here are some of the positions we created for Judith Lindenberger…

* HR Expert Specializing in Helping Companies & Global Corporations Avoid Million Dollar Lawsuits
* HR Expert, Consultant and Trainer Now Offers 25+ Training Solutions for HR Executives & Leaders

We didn’t just put a listing of current and past jobs along with a basic description of some accomplishments. We made sure that the position headline and the copy that followed it drew in the reader and enticed them to read more about her. We focused on what Judith is doing right now to help clients – because that’s what your prospects want to know.

4. Add testimonials that show specific results. Yes, you should get happy when you get testimonials like this:

“You guys are my secret weapon and you deliver BIG results which is why I keep coming back.” — Robert Smith, Author of “Million Dollar Press Releases: Guide To Boosting Profits Using Free Publicity”

However, does a testimonial like this differentiate you? No! It doesn’t describe the big results. It’s not specific enough. When you get testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations like the one above, be sure to thank the client and then ask a few more questions that will lead them to a more specific recommendation. That’s how you get a testimonial like this:

“150 New Subscribers, Four New Coaching Clients, $6,259 In Immediate Profits, And Two Media Interviews!” Leveraging the full power of LinkedIn® has been the “secret ingredient” that has, in just the past 5 months, taken me further toward achieving “authority” status as a website conversions expert than I moved in three years PRIOR.” Adam Hommey – Founder, Help My Website Sell

5. Create content that sets you apart. For example, you’ll find controversial articles on Skip’s LinkedIn profile and blog like:

Debate 1: Teamwork Is A Myth And That There Must Be A Focus On “I” In Team

Debate 2: The Communication Model Taught During The Last 40 Years Is A Bunch Of Crock!

Notice how Skip is not following the ‘generally accepted’ model. He’s differentiating himself. If you want to be a thought leader then you need to stop following every one else and make yourself stand out from the rest. You cannot be afraid to do something different or go against common thoughts, philosophies or mindsets. You have to let loose and share information that others keep hidden from others unless they pay thousands of dollars.

Now, I know the examples that we used today are not from the interior design industry. But, the strategies I reveal here are PROVEN and they work in ANY industry… even ours. Don’t you want to stand out and get first chance at a new big-budget client before any other designer in your neighborhood?

Differentiate yourself from every other interior designer out there! Get known as a thought leader!

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