The Art of Selling

Finding Your Tribal Signature

Your professional identity has more to do with ‘who you are’ to your clients,
not necessarily ‘what you do’

by Bruce Turkel

Mr. Turkel is CEO of Turkel Brands, a full-service, multicultural brand management firm located in Miami, Florida. He blogs regularly on marketing, PR & advertising issues and trends. Visit Turkel Brands. Reprinted with permission.

Taco Bell just introduced their new Dollar Craving Menu, ­ a list of 11 items that all cost one dollar. To help promote this new pricing, Taco Bell has created their Everlasting Dollar campaign where up to 11 winners could win the chain’s food for life (or at least $10,000 worth) if they simply find special modified dollar bills with unique serial numbers.

Although the odds are estimated at 2.4 billion to one (you probably have more chance of being struck twice by lightning while winning your state’s lottery then winning Taco Bell for life), the campaign has been heavily promoted across social media. And it’ll work well for Taco Bell because it is intrinsically aligned with their Tribal Signature.

You see, while you might think Taco Bell’s business is about Mexican food, or at least ‘fast food’ Mexican food, that’s no longer true; ‘fast food’ Mexican food is what they trade for money. But Taco Bell is all about filling your belly for little bits of money – one dollar at a time. That’s their Tribal Signature.
Domino’s Pizza trades food for money too, but that’s not the business they’re in either. Instead their Tribal Signature – the reason their tribe identifies with them – is that they can deliver an acceptable solution within 30 minutes. The problem they solve? The kids are hungry, my friends came over to watch the game, it’s late and I don’t feel like cooking, we need more food for the birthday party. Solving those kinds of problems is the business that Domino’s is in.

So, what business are you in?

What’s your Tribal Signature? What is your authentic truth that attracts business to you as it separates you from your competition?

As we’ve discussed so many times on this blog, people don’t buy what you do, they buy who you are. What you do is the functional solution that they might come looking for and it is what you trade for money but it’s not why they do business with you and your company.

...people don’t buy what you do, they buy who you are

When you were in the market for a mortgage, how did you choose the people you did business with? If you provided the right amount of collateral and were willing to pay the going rate, you could get money from lots of banks, credit unions, finance companies, and more. So why do you decide to do business with one organization or another?

Let’s say you’re a public speaker and simply market yourself as such. You tell your potential customers that if they’ve got 55 minutes to fill on their agenda you’re the best person for the job. Sounds like a good strategy, right? Trouble is there are thousands of other speakers who can do the same thing you’re offering. Some are more expensive than you. Some are cheaper. Some are better. Some aren’t. But if all your customer needs is to fill an hour or so, they’ve got a lot of choices and the odds that they’ll pick you aren’t very good.

Raising your brand-equity

But if they want Guy Kawasaki, or Bill Clinton, or the pilot who landed that plane in the Hudson River, or the leading expert in reconstructive surgery, or my friend Melissa Francis from FOX Business, then just any old speaker won’t do. So the real question is how do you raise your brand equity to occupy THAT kind of space in your clients’ mind?

One of the most important ways is to understand exactly what it is your customers are buying – and to understand that it’s not your function. Instead, it’s your tribal equity. The authentic, intrinsic, and irreproducible benefit you provide that they just cannot find anywhere else.
On October ninth and tenth, Toby LaVigne and I are going to present our first Tribal Signature Boot Camp where we’ll walk you along the simple, albeit simply non-intuitive path to uncovering and promoting your authentic truth. We’re going to explore this concept and workshop the specific tools and techniques you’ll use to build your brand and attract your best customers.

Last year our Elite Branding Seminar filled to capacity in just a few weeks, and this program already looks like it’s going to do the same thing so please click HERE if you’re interested in knowing more.

And while you’re thinking about it, please spend a little time thinking about exactly what business you are in. If your answer sounds not like what your customers want, but more like what it is you offer, then you have a lot more thinking to do.