As a professional, there are many ways to increase your attractability.
By the way, when I use that word, a lot of people either try to correct me or ask me what I mean. For the record, attractability is your ability to attract. Attractiveness is the quality of being attractive. It’s that which causes attraction. A less common term is attractivity, which is the degree or level of attraction.
Think of it as attraction ability, attraction quality, and attraction activity. (I know, it’s not precise. But it’s a great mnemonic.)
Some people say that, to be attractable, you need credentials and you need to show them. I disagree. If you’re a licensed professional, it’s a given. I hope you have credentials when you operate on me or defend me in court.
Having a medical degree is a credential like any other. Even being a published expert with articles in peer-reviewed journals. They’re just credentials.
But if you’re a pioneer in your space, the head of your own association, the founder of a movement, or specialized in a certain niche, those are more than just mere credentials. They are magnets.
For example, if you’re a cosmetic surgeon with 30 years of experience, that’s bland. In most cases, expected. In some cases, arrogant. But if you’ve won the Nobel Prize, now that’s attractive!
In other words, you need to be more than just an expert. You need to be a recognized, relevant expert. An authority. You don’t need to be the authority. But if you specialize (such as vertical specialization), you can become recognized as the authority in that vertical.
For example, many doctors are prohibited from claiming a specialization — unless they are trained, licensed, and certified in a particular area (such as a neurosurgeon, cardiothoracic specialist, or endocrinologist).
Those are horizontal specializations. And specializing in a horizontal, while doable and viable for building expertise and authority, can be difficult and, in some cases as I mentioned, impossible.
That’s why vertical specialization is easier, faster, and more influential. But it also makes you (specifically, it makes your expertise) more attractive to your audience because they feel you “get them.” That you understand them, their “unique” situation, their concerns, and their challenges.
You create instant credibility — without having to spend years immersing yourself in your trade, profession, or industry. And instead of mildly appealing to the masses, you become exponentially more appealing to the few.
Adding this focus to your practice will add to your credentials, which in turn will add to your attractability and make you far more palatable to your audience.
Admittedly, it may seem easy. But communicating and amplifying that credibility takes work. There are several activities you can do that accomplish this (I’ve often written at length about content marketing), but going through them will require an article of its own.
For now, here’s one way to add an extra dimension to your credentials that go beyond a mere degree, license, or certification.
A powerful and often underutilized credentializer (that may not be a word, but it is now!) is social proof. Proof that you can walk the talk. Obviously, your reputation, such as reviews and endorsements, helps tremendously.
However, one form of social proof over which you have more control is testimonials. If you have testimonials, don’t be afraid to use them, particularly in strategic locations. I have a page for testimonials (which is more like an archive). But I also sprinkle them throughout my pages, too.
But there is a problem with testimonials.
Especially when it comes to professionals.
Testimonials are so overused and sugarcoated that they seem as if they’re made up by a copywriter — even if they’re real or approved by the testimonial giver. Good testimonials are fantastic. But to many readers, good testimonials are fantastical. Pure fantasy.
In fact, back in 2007 when the FTC clamped down on fakery online, one of the things they went after were fake testimonials. I wrote about this at the time, saying, “The truth is no longer good enough.”
Because, while a testimonial can be technically true, it still can be delusive (meaning, it can give the impression of being deceptive). The too-good-to-be-true types of testimonials, in other words.
A testimonial that’s technically true might still be misleading if it lacks enough context so that people can understand and appreciate what they can generally expect from doing business with you.
The most effective testimonials usually have three things in common. They are:
- measurable, and
They are specific, they have meaning, and they are relevant.
For example, an accountant who helped a business save money on their taxes is bland. An accountant who saved $100,000 is more specific, but it’s meaningless. In other words, $100,000 may seem like a lot to small business, but to a multimillion company it can seem insignificant.
An accountant who helped a small business save $100,000 in taxes when they were originally going to pay $150,000 (that is, an almost 70% reduction) is more meaningful, but it is irrelevant if it took them months to do and now they have a ton of penalties and interest.
However, if a testimonial said:
“I run a work-at-home Etsy store. Last year, I made over $500,000 in sales, my best year ever. However, I was in shock when I realized I still owed over $150,000 in taxes. So I contacted Jane Smith, CPA. She reviewed my business expenses, found some glaring errors that I’ve made, and claimed all the deductions I was legally entitled to. In less than one month, just in time before the tax deadline, she helped me save over $94,588 on my taxes. I recommend Jane wholeheartedly.”
In this scenario above, there’s something extra.
Can you guess what it is?
Make your testimonials read more like case studies.
Just as with your credentials, it’s a given that case studies help promote your expertise and add to your attractability. If you don’t have any case studies, start creating them now. They are remarkably effective.
Most of the time, case studies are more effective than testimonials because they are more believable — even though a testimonial appears from a third party and a case study comes from you, which might seem more self-serving.
It’s paradoxical, but turning a seemingly far-fetched testimonial into a case study will make it more credible and believable.
So rather than using testimonials that, to some readers, can read like a raving hormonal tween gushing about last night’s Justin Bieber concert, an effective way to present testimonials is in a story-based format — particularly if they give context and can help overcome objections.
When asking feedback from your clients in an attempt to elicit a testimonial, prompt them by asking some questions, like:
- “Who are you and what do you do?”
- “What was your situation before we worked together?”
- “What was the problem that brought you to seek me out?”
- “How long have we worked together on this issue?”
- “What were the specific results of our work together?”
- “What do these results mean to you or your firm?” And,
- “If you were to recommend my services, what would you say?”
If you already have a testimonial from a happy client, you can either do one of two things: either have them rewrite it using the above questions, or ask them and use the answers to create a case study with.
In other words, write a background story about the person giving the testimonial and their situation prior to buying your service. And then follow it with the testimonial as a way to let the client explain the result in their own words in your case study. As if it was a news piece.
In short, it’s giving your testimonial context and meaning.
Finally, remember that to be attractive (to your audience), you need to be attractable. You need to demonstrate your attractiveness. And just showing off your credentials alone are not as attractive to your client as you might think. In fact, they make you look more like a showoff.
You need to give your credentials credence.