You must learn to be an object of interest!
Recently, I was speaking with my good friend and advisor, Alan Weiss, about how inundated today’s marketplace has become with thought leaders. The trouble here—we both agree—is that when you have too much of anything, you wind up commoditizing it. Thus, it’s become impossible for people to find pearls of good advice in a veritable ocean of opinions.
So, what can we do about this?
I like Alan’s solution a lot: you must learn to be an object of interest. That means having something interesting to say about topics that matter to your audience. And implicit in that idea is how you must also create a welcoming environment that encourages meaningful discussions.
5 Ways to Be an Object of Interest
1. Know the Price of Milk
I’m speaking metaphorically here, but you don’t have to be in the grocery business to understand why this kind of Main Street knowledge is important. Important things happening in one sector have direct consequences for others. Having up-to-date knowledge of what’s happening in your market and in adjacent ones shows you’re willingly invested in keeping up on current events—even those that are outside of your business. Do this by paying attention to all sources of news across multiple channels and multiple media. Be well rounded in your observations, and look for local, regional, national, and international examples.
2. Look Boldly Beyond a Trend
Having the ability to name a current marketplace trend today is about as useful as being able to read aloud the business section of someone’s news feed. It has a painfully limited shelf life. Instead, look at current trends and ask: “What might come next?” Be willing to make many bold predictions. Remember: the real value in predictions is the range of insights they offer about how best to prepare for a future that’s always uncertain. That, in turn, helps your audience develop a better array of choices from which to make better decisions. You might not always be right, and your clients might not always agree with your predictions, but you’ll succeed at something more important: making them think differently.
3. Get Out of Your Echo Chamber
There’s little to learn from only talking to others who you agree with. And stop being so agreeable! Instead, seek out opinions that challenge your assumptions about the world. That includes reading well-respected publications that offer a variety of perspectives on an issue. But it also includes making changes to your social media feed. Stop relying solely on its algorithms for suggested new follows. Find more people with differing opinions and worldviews to encourage a broader perspective.
4. Expand Your Platform Skillfully
As I’ve talked about in my new book, Right on the Money, the stakes today of earning an audience are much higher in this inflation-fueled market. The scope of your influence must increase to be successful. You achieve it with what I call Critical Mass Influence. That’s the vector of people who affect your ability to complete transactions within a tight timeframe daily. Use your platforms of choice to connect more broadly with new followers and influencers. Make full use of this community by having meaningful engagement and discussions with them on a regular ongoing basis. Engaging with your audience daily ensures you leverage them for profitable sales results.
5. Think Variety
Don’t be so predictable with your online content. Deliberately schedule some variety into what you share and what you talk about. Make sure that content list contains more than just tips and solutions. Post contrarian pieces that challenge conventional thinking. Talk about subjects that are outside of your traditional sphere of influence or that run counter to the current trends. For example, my best oil and gas clients routinely engage in positive discussions about wind and solar power. In doing so, they gain a better understanding of their community’s perspective on these issues.
Here’s What You Are Saying No To
By choosing to be an object of interest, you’re taking on the challenge of not looking and sounding like everyone else. You’re saying no to the commodification of opinion. And instead, you’re choosing to be authentic and unpredictable. Authenticity is uncommodifiable. Your audience will reward you for this!