Have you noticed?
The marketing advice, courses and templates created for product businesses and consumer service providers don’t work in credentials enterprises.
Many a creator of a certification, accreditation or standards program discover through money and time they will never get back, that lead generation and revenue for them works only by different thinking.
It was 1995 when I discovered the vast, unmet needs of credentialing business communication, then named it and claimed it as my niche. Credentials creators drill all the way down to an individual’s name, email address, training background and zip code when they are creating a certification. It’s a designer original. There is rarely any certification like it, even if a cheap knockoff coming from another country.
Why, then, would the credential creator not follow the same thinking when creating their communication plan? They really don’t want “the world” or “everyone” to step closer and feel like they belong in the circle of professionals who uniquely qualify for a specific certification.
Why, then, do more than 90% of certification creators have almost nothing that focuses on their individually-customizable relationship with each customer and instead, risk their future on a marketing plan that is predictable, uncreative and uninspired?
The longer I work in the credentials business storytelling niche which I discovered, brought home and fed these past 25 years, the more I think, if you are still chasing after prospects, you will exhaust your funds, credibility and trust, prematurely.
When experiencing unprecedented times, many open up to some new ways of thinking about creating, reviewing and updating their plans for attracting the best candidates for their credential, instead of shouting at the masses.
My wish for you is that you see today, this time of reconsidering everything, as the best first day to find out more about what happens when you flip your thinking.
Turning your head inside out and reversing years of false assumptions about customers usually takes at least 90 days of learning what works better, then practicing to prove it as your bigger, stronger truth. That’s my warning label. You’ll resist at first because you have too many years of bad conditioning and rejection to overcome.
As credentials owners, how much of your energy and resources go to understanding how best to communicate value, instead of focusing on what the customer is teaching you about what they desire?
If you create a credential worthy of time, attention, preparation and money of the people you designed it—very exactly, to serve, then we don’t need to blow so much time, energy and money trying to prove it’s worth.
You know your category better than anyone else and it’s on you to show “why this and why now?” Let’s say your category is safety professionals. You know how vast and confusing it can be. You know the latest changes and knowledge for security practices. Your superpower is your intensely-deep understanding of exactly what you created that interests and excites someone who aspires to find colleagues, mentors and a career in exactly the precise flavor (specific profile) of security industry professional you certify.
Here’s a radical exercise for your wake up call. Identify two other certifications in your professional category, e.g., nursing. Go through your website and theirs—completely and strike out all words that are the same. What you want to see when you remove the generic terms are any words that are specific to ONLY your credential.
The sooner you dig deep to discover your uniqueness and value pieces, the sooner you can stop acting like you are someone else. You’ll attract all of the ideal and best customers as soon as they can see that you are talking to them, not at them, and your story includes them in starring roles.
There are many others who can handle and worry about operations. There’s no need to obsess over operations, such as test delivery mechanics or learning management software, if customer relationships are weak. If you are the CEO, at least 1/3 of your job is director, producer and feature role in the story of your credential. Your story includes ideal customers, those you’ve certified, and those you’ve been loosely calling “partner”—and some regulators.
You are reading this post because you chose to be here. Maybe you’ve been in my Certification Core and credentials business a long time or maybe you recently arrived, actively seeking something that works better for you. I have no “reaching out” strategy and I turn off anyone who says they are trying “reaching out” on me.
Instead, I provide a place (virtual, physical, private) where you belong and can have conversations, individually, and in tiny pods of 10 or fewer, about things you cannot find on the Internet or don’t want to air out in front of staff, board or others. You want high trust and solutions that work for your specific decisions du jour. We both know you are always deciding who is worthy of your permission and their time.
So the question for you and me is not just how do we get the right people to notice us, but how do we become worthy of the limited time and attention of the people we want to serve?
It’s great when you find out what makes you awesome in your niche or category.
Nearly all of the problems I’ve experienced in business had more to do with spending too much time where I did not belong. Wrong clients, wrong partners, and wrong prospects all helped me learn to devote future passion and time on creating what became the trifecta my ideal customers wanted. It’s three elements together, not separately that creates the magic and the better, faster results.
Who needs you? Who do you need to serve? Not everybody. Truth is you want people who want to love the profession you certify as you do.