Are you ready for an uncomfortable truth?
It does not matter how good you are at what you do or the results you can get for your clients…
That sounds outrageous, right? But your skills and your results alone won’t create the kind of business you’re looking to build. There’s a missing ingredient.
You need to be able to talk about what you do as skillfully as you actually do it. Unfortunately, many of us are terrible at that. Even when we have the attention of a potential customer, meeting planner or ally for our business, we have a hard time talking about what we do in an interesting and clear way. As a result, we get lost in a sea of competitors, cut our prices, bleed money with advertising, and end each day stressed and exhausted.
But you’re better than that, and you deserve more.
It’s difficult to differentiate ourselves online when we’re competing with potentially thousands of other businesses that offer similar products or services to our own. But we don’t want to compete on price, or by “working harder.” We need to describe what we do and how we do it in a way that gets people to clearly visualize the value we provide and imagine themselves experiencing that value.
Often, talking about our business can feel a lot like this:
We think we describe what we do masterfully, but really we may as well be speaking German.
Gregory Diehl sums up this problem in his book Brand Identity Breakthrough:
“When they’ve been doing things one way for a certain amount of time, and have had some success with it, they will get often trapped in that particular pattern of thinking. There’s a lot of emotional and intellectual inertia that needs to be overcome when someone voluntarily changes their mindset.”
What is a proprietary process?
A proprietary process is like grandma’s secret lasagna recipe. Lots of people make lasagna, but nobody does it quite like grandma. In fact, you don’t even like other lasagnas, because grandma’s is so much better that it makes all the others seem cheap and terrible!
Your proprietary process has the same effect. It’s your “secret recipe” for how you get results for your customer. It’s a narrative for you to communicate the “what” and “how” behind the results you bring people.
Why should you have a proprietary process?
It empowers you
The beauty of having a proprietary process is that it empowers you to talk about your business in a way that’s both clear and thought-provoking. This not only impacts how people receive your message but also how you deliver your message. With this process in place, you draw upon your own story and the deep aspects of who you are. This creates something bigger than yourself and changes how you show up every day.
You’ll get more clients
Of course, a proprietary process also helps you get more customers. People buy from people, and your proprietary process gives you a story to tell and creates a personal connection while talking about your business.
As you begin to speak to people about your new process, your story will resonate with them, and they will sense your energy and empowerment.
You can charge higher prices
A proprietary process instantly changes you from another “me too” business to “the one and only,” which allows you to charge higher prices because they can’t get what you have anywhere else.
It makes presenting easier and more effective
A proprietary process helps you outline your signature talk and provides a framework to clearly deliver your ideas from the stage in a way that makes your audience want to engage with you more.
You’ll have a better team
Your proprietary process and the story behind it will resonate just as much with your team members as with your customers. It will create added meaning for them in their work and become a source of motivation for them to draw upon.
How do you create your own proprietary process?
A proprietary process must say three things about you:
- You’re ordinary – They need to know that you’re just like them, a normal person with the same problems and setbacks they have.
- You’re extraordinary – At the same time, they need to know that you’re special, that you’ve solved the big problem they have, and can help them with the same.
- You care – They need to know that you’re in this for more than just money. The story of your signature talk needs to communicate that you care about them and their success.
Create 3 sections for your proprietary process.
Why 3? It’s a number that’s easy for the mind to process and remember. It’s enough to create a sense of sequence with your process, but not so much that people get confused. If you must, you can add more than 3 distinct sections, but with each addition, you risk diluting your message.
Listing your process as a sequence is a powerful way to show people a path to working with you. For example, at Advance Your Reach, we help people with three things: story, stage, and scale. Typically our customers start with story, and once they’ve mastered their story, they begin to get stages. Once they have stages, then they scale up their business.
Your process does not necessarily have to be a sequence. You can list various components or “ingredients” to your process that are all integral to getting the results you promise.
Connect each section of your process to your story or a metaphor
Personal stories help people know you care. They allow people to see the reason “why” you do what you do.
What are your roots? Where do you come from? What events have shaped who you are today? Look at how your past and your roots influence what you’re doing today, and find a way to connect that with your process.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Stories that connect with a painful moment or a mistake in your past can quickly create a deep connection with your audience. They also help you appear both ordinary (you make mistakes just like everyone else) and extraordinary (you have overcome these challenges). Learning from these mistakes, you’ve become sensitive to them and notice the same problems in your customers.
Here’s a video of Chris Smith from the Campfire Effect building a proprietary process live with an audience member at Reach Academy Live. You can see Chris work through these specific steps and draw a story and shape it into a proprietary process. The incorporation of story in the process creates a powerful and engaging effect right away.
Identify specific results you get
Most of us focus on “what you do,” with the specific nuts and bolts of how that will work. Our proprietary process focuses on results and what your customer will get out of the process. By focusing on results, you instill confidence in your listener and they will begin to imagine themselves experiencing the results and benefits you offer.
Each section should have a clear result that you can promise at the end.
Break each section your process up into 3 concrete steps
Within each section, you should outline concrete steps that people can take to get the result you promise. Within these steps, you need to have something for your whole audience. Remember that your audience has a mix of experience and familiarity with what you’re teaching. You need to reach both the beginners and the experts in your presentations.
When designing your steps, make sure you address:
Newbie – Something that someone who is totally new to your concepts can take action on right away.
Expert – Something to show the experienced professionals in the audience that you’re not just repeating what everyone else is saying.
Short-term – Something that can get fast results and be applied immediately to their business
Long-term – Something that takes time and investment, but yields good long-term results.
Create activities for each section of your process
A good way to break up a presentation and get your audience to engage with your ideas is through activities. An activity helps your audience see the value of your process and gives them a little taste of what working with you is like.
Activities don’t have to take long–you can get a lot done in 2 or 3 minutes. Here’s a list of a few different kinds of activities you can test out with your process.
Reflect – Have them think about the step and how it would work in their own life or business.
Apply – Have them write or discuss how they can take action on the step.
Solo – If you’re on a webinar or don’t want people to get lost in conversation, consider an activity that they can do on their own.
Group – Group activities are great to get people connecting with each other. They allow people to bounce ideas off their neighbors and get more clarity on the step. If you’re on a webinar and your audience is likely alone, then ask them to share their thoughts with friends or colleagues after the presentation.
Move – Incorporating movement into your presentation helps ideas stick and can refresh an audience that’s tired of sitting. Even just asking someone to move around the room to get into groups is good enough. This is a particularly good strategy for health professionals to get people to try out ideas if they involve exercises, stretches, or breathing.
Build sales into your process
People dread a pitch that comes at the end of a presentation and often shut down when they sense it coming. It’s possible to talk about your product or service in your business and make people want them in a way that does not feel “salesy” to your audience.
You can embed your testimonials and offers right into the stories you tell for each section, or to support the concrete steps. Just make sure it adds value and clarity to the ideas you share.
Embedded testimony – Most people just have a single slide of “quote” testimonials from their clients. Slides like this are often quickly forgotten by your audience because they don’t connect with the emotions and actions in your process.
An embedded testimony involves adding a testimonial to support your story or point directly. Instead of framing your testimonial as proof that you get results, use it to prove that this process works. This gets people more invested in the process itself.
For example, in his presentations, Pete often builds testimonials in with screenshots from social media – “Just this week I got a message on facebook from someone who applied these ideas and booked a stage in 24 hours.”
Embedded next engagement – This is when you mention what next step your audience can take with you. A good embedded next engagement feels to the audience like they’re getting a bit of extra information that you usually only give away to your clients. By wrapping the next engagement into a useful piece of information or a story, people are more open to the idea and associate what you embed with the feeling you provoke.
For example, you may hear our head coach Pat Quinn embed a plug for the story execution workshops into a tip about speaking well.
“One of the things people are worried about is that I’ll change their ‘style.’ I don’t want to change your style — I want to make you more authentic. One of my favorite parts about the Story Execution Workshops I host is being able to focus in on the movement of our speakers. Some people like to move a lot, and others don’t like to move at all. Either way is fine, but what’s important to me is that, when you move, you move with purpose.
Embedded value offer – If you give away a gift or lead magnet at the end of your presentation, remind them about it when discussing sections of your proprietary process that relate to the download so they anticipate the gift and understand it’s value to them.
For example, “A lot of this process can get confusing but don’t worry, I’m going to give you a template/tool at the end of this talk that will keep you on track.”
How many proprietary processes should you have?
I recommend you start with just one — create a process that describes the full-spectrum of your business and the results you get. This will become the foundation for your marketing and brand storytelling.
Once you have your foundational process established, you can create multiple proprietary processes in your business.
As you begin to create multiple processes, think about the “big picture” result you want to get for people and try to create a proprietary process to solve the major problems keeping your audience from that result. Your processes should relate to each other, but they should not overlap too much. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your customers and your messaging.
At Advance Your Reach, we have several processes, but our most prominent is our Unstoppable Stage Campaign and The Story Braid Framework that explains how to get on stages and how to deliver an amazing talk once you’re on that stage. They address two separate and unique problems for our customers, and they support each other.
There are few tools more powerful than a proprietary process for your business. It makes sales, marketing, and speaking from stage a breeze. Join us at Reach Academy Live where we’ll help you build your own!
Want to get some feedback on your own proprietary process? Type yours in the comments below, and we’ll share our thoughts.