The savvy professional assistant will also see themselves as a marketer.
The VA is looking to find new clients. The Executive Assistant or PA is looking to get their value recognised by the organisation.
For many, this is not an easy task. Even if an assistant has good communication skills they can find it tricky to talk about or promote themselves.
That’s because marketing is an art. Creating strong messaging is a skill.
One way to build up your messaging is to reflect on yourself, review your services and consider the value of what you offer.
Identify Your Values
People’s perception of another person is based on many things – including appearance, speech, personality, manners and character.
Some of what they’re ‘picking up’ relates to the person’s values.
By values, I mean things that someone considers important – something which underpins how they approach life and work.
Examples of a value include honesty, integrity, humour, creativity, loyalty, humility, kindness, selflessness, courage, compassion, determination, empathy and generosity.
Which ones resonate with you? Which ones would people associate with you?
When you know and understand your values, you can bring them into play in your messaging.
Sum it Up
When someone asks, “And what do you do?”, some people freeze. They get tongue-tied, blabber or waffle.
It can help to think about what you might say in advance. Something short and to the point.
A framework for that could go something like this.
“I help (insert your ideal client or market audience) to (insert the challenge you help them with) so that (insert the outcome or difference you make)”
Try it a few times. Try it in different ways. See what sounds best. Test it out on people and experience how it lands with them.
Advertisers have an advantage because this is the kind of thing they do every day.
I remember adverts for Ronseal wood stain and the slogan was “It does exactly what it says on the tin”.
I thought that was a neat way to present the message.
Assistants can use this approach to start conversations, either about their career path or with prospective clients – for example, at a networking event.
Sieve Through Your Services
Think about the services you offer.
This applies to PAs and Executive Assistants as much as VAs. What do you do for people?
Think less about the applications – things like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Think more about what you REALLY do for people.
You may write documents. But you could say “I create lead magnets that help business owners build their mailing list” or “I write concise reports that give leaders what they need to know at each stage of the quarter”.
You may create Excel spreadsheets. But you could say “I help small business owners keep their accounts in order, to avoid trouble with the Tax People” or “I help finance directors understand the organisation’s assets and cash flow so they can make better strategic decisions.”
You may create presentations in PowerPoint. But you could say “I help consultants and trainers to get their message across so people sit up and take notice” or “I help my boss to look good by helping him deliver wow-factor presentations to his peers.”
Know your services. Know how to position them and relate to what they really mean for the client or organisation.
If you’re behind where you want or need to be with your Microsoft Office skills, explore your training options.
Products and packages
If you’re a freelance VA, you might have some products or packages you offer.
For each one, you will want to give it a name, have a summary of what it is, cover what it includes and how it helps people.
In marketing, they call it the Features, Benefits & Difference.
A product or package might involve creating infographics. The feature is the infographic.
The benefits associated with it could include:
– Turn your data and stunning visuals which make information easier to take in and remember.
– The work is done for you, leaving you more time to do what you do best.
– Simplify and share complex data with ease.
Explaining the difference that the benefits deliver is a way to ramp up the value. It also helps people understand what it means for their work or business.
For example, sharing complex data in a clear visual form helps to prevent mistakes and reduce the risk of things going wrong. It makes the communicator a hero in the organisation because they bring clarity to the fore.
The ‘difference’ is more of a bigger picture idea or expression of what the benefit of the product or package brings to the table.
Messaging is a process. It can take time and care to get right.
But everyone has to start somewhere.
Use some of these ideas to get the ball rolling. Set aside time in your diary to focus on messaging.
As a VA you’ll be using it for marketing to the outside world. As a PA or EA, your audience is internal – your executive, colleagues and the organisation as a whole.
Either way, strong messaging is going to be a friend by your side.
Share a comment below about how you describe yourself or messaging methods you’ve found useful.