With the ever-changing marketing landscape, it’s getting harder to grab the consumers’ attention. You would have to make shifts in your business to capitalize on what the market wants. Chala Dincoy, a marketing strategist who helps B2B service providers accelerate their growth, joins John Livesay on today’s show to talk about super niching and repositioning your message to rocket-fuel your business. Don’t miss this episode as Chala and John double down on the importance of niching down into an industry.
Listen To The Episode Here:
The Repositioning Expert With Chala Dincoy
Our guest on the show is Chala Dincoy, who’s an expert at helping people get a great elevator pitch. She has specific examples and stories in this episode of how she’s helped companies with boring, bland, and confusing elevator pitches find their niche and differentiate themselves from the competition. You’re going to want to read and learn how you can stand out by finding the right niche. Enjoy the episode.
Our guest is Chala Dincoy, the CEO and Founder of The Repositioning Expert, which is a division of coach tactics and a marketing strategist who helps professional service companies change their messaging to attract more decision-makers. In her former life, she was an award-winning marketer at places like Pepsi and Pizza Hut for many years. Now, she is the author of Gentle Marketing: How to Gently Attract Loads of New Customers! and How to Win Friends the Way Apple Wins Customers. Welcome to the show.
I’m going to ask you to take us back to your own story of origin. You can go back as far as childhood. How did you start becoming aware of your passion for marketing and storytelling?
It’s weird that you asked that because I spoke at NASDAQ in 2019. Have you ever spoken at NASDAQ?
I was scheduled to speak at NAB on storytelling, which is the entertainment industry’s trade show, helping people who create TV shows and movies tell their story of how to get it sold. That was one that I was looking forward to that got canceled with the quarantine. The NASDAQ is a whole other ring the bell experience.
They didn’t let me do that, but they do put you on the jumbotron in Times Square. If you go to Repositioner.com, which is my website, that’s what you see. What they asked for that audience was to tell the ugliest, the scariest, disgusting childhood story that you would never tell anybody. You think of why. I dare you to tell that story, so that’s what I told the story of how we were immigrants and my mom was a lawyer, my dad was an engineer, but they come from a poor country called Turkey. When they immigrated, my mom was a coupon lady. We had no money. My dad was restructured. That’s the story that I told that I always had this scarcity mentality and they said, “Chala, you have to study hard, go to school and work for these large corporations.” I worked for Pepsi, Frito-Lay, all those large corporations. Have you ever worked for a large corporation that restructured you?
That’s part of my TEDx Talk called Be the Lifeguard of Your Own Life.
That was the reality. That mentality always kept my business from being able to grow faster. Imagine if my dad was Warren Buffett. I don’t know if your dad was Warren Buffett, that’s such a difference. That’s what I was able to overcome to be able to get to the level that I’m at, the success that I’ve had. It’s always overcoming a devil. That’s all it is. Now, I’m overcoming a new devil like you and I have lost our stages and our conferences. You less so because how many years have you had this show?
I’ve been doing this for over five years.
You’re one of the ancients, that’s what I mean. I am a baby compared to this online world. During COVID, that’s what I’m doing is I’m using that whole resilience mindset from my childhood to port all of my channels over. Have you done that?Be known for one thing. Don't confuse people with your elevator pitch. Click To Tweet
Yes. In fact, I launched an online course based on my book that I now provide as part of a package when people hire me to give virtual keynotes and workshops. It works out perfectly that it’s all seamless and virtual, that people can hear me give a virtual talk and then give a virtual workshop and then they can all take an online course to reinforce what they learned.
You’re one of the pivots success stories that are going to come out. In a couple of years, it’s going to be like, “Who was able to pivot and who wasn’t?”
Part of it for me, I want to hear your story is I started the online course back in September 2019. It was ready to launch in 2020 and some people are scrambling to do it. It’s like a book. You can’t just throw something together in 30 days and have it good. The same thing is true with an online course. That’s why I’m happy. This is what I want to speak to you about. Do you think of yourself as a stock and that you invest in yourself?
Yes, and I’ve invested. That’s the mindset I had to shift because when I told my parents that I invested what I invested in my first coach, their eyebrows disappeared off the phone. We were FaceTiming. They’ve been supportive even though they’re scared for me, but my mom, the coupon lady, gave me seed money to give to that coach. We’re talking about 5, 6-figure coaches here. This is not chump change. I did not go into those group online programs. That’s such a part of my story that I was able to invest in.
The thing that wowed me and why you’re the perfect guest for the show is you have a topic around elevator pitches that wow buyers. Let’s jump right in and start giving some value to everybody. What tips do you have around that?
Have you ever been to a procurement conference? What they do is they have these buyers from a giant corporation like Pepsi, Staples or Walmart. They have ten suppliers sitting around that person, then each person has 30 seconds to pitch them. Have you ever been into that?
I’ve been in a version of that. It’s not pleasant.
I’m a part of a diverse organization called WBENC. It’s for women business owners, but there’s every kind of diversity conference going on. We used to be every single day now virtual for African-Americans, Latinos, veterans, gay, lesbian. There is every single kind of diversity and these are procurement conferences and there are thousands of people, John. You’ve never seen many women in one. You’ve never seen many of one diversity in one room. I started to sit at those tables. Do you do something well and then you are watching someone doing it badly? Is there something like golf or something like that? How does it make you feel?
You feel inept.
You want to help them. They’re screwing it up badly and you’re a pro, so that’s what started happening. That’s how I got into it. They were like, “I want it to poke my eyes out.” Listening to these women trying to introduce themselves and they would continually make a laundry list of all the different industries they serve and all the different services they have. It would be confusing, long and boring. Most of them were saying the same thing. Not one buyer at the table said, “Can I have your card or an appointment?”
I tell people the whole goal of an elevator pitch, especially when it’s got a time constraint on it, is to intrigue people enough to say, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.” The biggest mistake I see, and I would love your thoughts on this, is that everybody tries to boil the ocean. Amazon sold books first. They were known for books. You’re known for one thing. Don’t tell everybody everything you do or can do. What do you think about that?
I love that. That is wonderful. The whole idea is to niche. When I try to say I’m a niching coach, people thought I was a knitting coach and they kept asking me questions about pearling and knitting. All joking aside, when you’re niched in either the industry or interest group that you help and/or the pain point that you’re an expert in, that’s magic. That’s when people are hooked in. You can sell them anything you want after that. That’s what you’re talking about is you hope that you have hooked their interest.
Get me intrigued enough that I want to know. For me, I say I’m The Pitch Whisperer. Our brain goes, “I know what a dog whisperer is. I know what a horse whisperer is. What’s a pitch whisper?” That’s my niche. It’s true with salespeople, there are lots of different training and speakers in sales, but my niche is teaching people in sales how to turn a boring case study into a compelling case story. When that happens, they win more business. That’s a short elevator pitch.
Let me give you an example of some elevator pitches that I’ve fixed. I have a podcast about this. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, the first portion is five minutes. It’s called Polish My Pitch. People come on the show, they do 30 seconds and then the rest of the five minutes I fix them. Twenty minutes we go deep dive what you’re doing. I’m sure you’ve met ad agencies. This one said, “We’re an ad agency who does strategy and design.” When we did the research and we niched them into this, we help get leads online for foodservice manufacturers ten times faster than your sales staff. That was one. Here’s another one. This was a translation company. This was literally what they were saying. We’re a translation company that works with governments and agencies and all industries. That was it. When we niched them, this is what it sounded like. Do you know when marketing agencies need a fast translation of other languages such as Punjabi or Cantonese? We translated it in a week rather than a month like the industry. They became niched in other languages because it turned out from the research, 75% of the world speaks a language other than English.
What I love about what you did there was it’s specific as well as a frame of reference. The norm is a month. We do it in a week as opposed to saying something like, “We save you time.” That doesn’t mean anything to me if I don’t have a frame of reference.
That is true because I speak in CEO groups and I do a pre-survey about this. I say, “What is your differentiator?” Let me tell you, CEOs, a little bit of ego there. First of all, every single one of them says they have a differentiator because they know its death not to. Can you try to guess what are some of their differentiators?
It’s going to be these cliché things like, “We have strong values and celebrate diversity,” or something.
One is we have a lot of experience. First of all, nobody cares that you’re old. They don’t. The second one is they go for service. One client that I was talking to wrote a book called The Extra Scoop and he thinks like, “That’s the differentiator.” Everybody’s saying it, hence it’s no longer a differentiator. Everybody’s trying to say that they have a better price. It’s not sustainable. Somebody could undercut you the next minute and it’s not defendable. It’s not differentiated because everybody’s saying it. You see the conundrum here.
A lot of companies whether they’re law firms, ad agencies, tech companies, executive search firms, everybody architects. They all go through the same process. They get a request for a proposal. They send it in. They’re in the final 2 or 3, and then they get invited to speak for an hour. I had to do that when I sold advertising. It was Media Day and I was talking to some CEOs and they said, “We hope we can go last because whoever goes last is memorable.” I said to them, “If that’s your strategy, I hope you go last when you can’t control the order you present. That you’re not saying anything memorable, there’s a problem here.”
Did they hire you?
They did. When you tell a good story, it doesn’t matter what order you go in. You’re memorable. You talk about winning your competition and why many buyers can’t tell the difference between the vendors. They all say the same thing. It all blurs together. What is twinning your competition?
I don’t know if you knew this, but this is scary. Eighty-six percent of buyers can’t tell the difference between the two suppliers.70% of human beings purchase on problems. If there's no problem, there's no sale. Click To Tweet
They’re not saying anything to differentiate them or be memorable.
I used to sell vodka. I worked for Smirnoff. I don’t know if you knew this. I don’t know if you’re a drinker, but it doesn’t have an odor or a taste.
It’s generic. It’s right up there with lipstick.
That’s the whole deal is we had to differentiate them. That’s what you are as a product. If you don’t differentiate, you’re just a bottle with clear water or just water. Guess what people start to do? They price shop you. That’s what happens and people don’t even understand, “Chala, I don’t know why. No one’s getting back to me or they want me to cut my price more,” because you are not giving them a reason why you’re different. Let me share with you some of the ways that we’ve made some companies differentiated. The way to differentiation is through super niching. You will love that word from me because that’s all I’m about. An IT support company, have you ever met any IT support companies, like a million of them?
We fix your computer.
Managed services, that’s exactly what their problem was. They said, “We can’t get into meetings because everybody either has one or they are not interested because there are a million of us.” We super niched them into something you will never believe. We would never have guessed until we did the research because we don’t dictate the super niche. I don’t let the client dictate. The market tells us. They super niched in healthcare call centers where they now reduce wait times. Can you believe it? They have a sub-brand called On-Hold Rescue.
It tells you exactly what it does. I love that title.
You’re the one-liner guy. I love it. Here’s another one, a generic marketing strategy company. With the research, we super niched them into helping food manufacturers. The lady that makes the cookies, the sauces, the soups get listed and stay listed in grocery stores. That guy, his URL became FoodDistributionGuy.com and he went from zero sales, new, non-organic to sixteen new contracts in the next year. At the age of 61, he asked his girlfriend to marry him, invited me to the wedding, put me in the speech. I sat at the kids’ table by myself, but it was lovely. Don’t ever go to a wedding by yourself.
You sit around the kids’ table and you think, “Who don’t I know to get this table?” I remember being the usher at my sister’s wedding and I got tired of saying, “Are you a friend of the bride, a friend of the groom?” I figured if I don’t know you, you’re a friend of the groom. It was like, “I can’t keep saying the same thing over and over again.” It drives me crazy. I think this concept of super niching is a powerful takeaway for everyone to differentiate yourself. The more specific you get, even with my online course I was laser-focused on, I’m going to help anyone in tech sales because tech people are notorious for not telling stories and only talking about the tech stuff. I then started getting people in who were productivity experts wanting to learn how to shorten the sales cycle and get people to say yes faster. If storytelling can do that, then that’s a big outcome for our clients who want to learn how to be more productive. That became an unexpected niche. You’re smart to advise people to listen to what the market is saying your niche is as opposed to you thinking, “This is who’s bought it so far.” Sometimes these unexpected niches, once you have 1 or 2 productivity experts endorsing the course and getting it, then it becomes easy to get others to join.
The way that you went about it is a smart business person who is along the way listens and makes shifts in their business that they can capitalize on what the market wants. I’ve gone one step further so that in two weeks, I can give it to you. Within the two weeks, we go out and ask the market. We figure it out in two weeks so that if you’re launching, you don’t have to course correct. You already know where the sweet spot is.
The other thing that I love doing, and I want your insights and I’m sure you have a story around this, is I’m an avid listener not only to my guests, but also to clients. When they tell me a pain point, I turn it into a marketing copy. I’ve had people say to me, “We are tired of coming in second place when we pitch for new business. Are you tired of coming in second place?” I had the CEO of Sugar Mountain Foods, which makes this delicious cheese up in Seattle. He had salespeople that have to call on the stores to put it not just on the shelf, but eye-level on the shelf, there are many things. How the whole line versus part of the line and he goes, “Can you teach my team how to be persuasive and not pushy?” There’s another trigger, sound bite. Literally listening to what their challenges are that become your solution so the people go, “Are you in my head?” I am a firm believer that once you’ve said something that registers for one client and you want more of that client, then other people start going, “That’s what we struggle with.”
That’s me, and in fact, I don’t know if you knew this stat and you’re already doing this, but 70% of human beings purchase on problems. If there’s no problem, there’s no sale. Only 30% purchase on improving something or adding value. In fact, the super-niche is based on pain. That’s what we do in the research. We research, we dig out pain points. For example, there are 1.5 million leadership coaches and none of them are differentiated. When we did the research, have you ever worked for a manufacturing company like a small one, 300 people around?
I’ve sold multimillion-dollar mainframe computers against IBM. I’ve sold advertising space for Condé Nast. I’ve sold advertising agency, creative services, turning movies into commercials. I’ve had a wide variety of things.
You’ve probably met some manufacturing companies along the way.
I’ve been on the tours of all the Guess jeans and Lucky jeans. Talk about jeans and trying to differentiate what makes your jeans better than another. There’s a whole trade show on that called Magic in Vegas twice a year. That’s all denim.
Do you know the biggest leadership problem in a manufacturing firm? Not the big ones like you’re talking about, but a midsize one or small to midsize. Can you give us?
I would guess that the biggest challenge in leadership is getting people to feel like they’re part of the team, that they don’t understand what the vision is.
You went way further. They’re not even there. This is pedestrian and primitive. They can’t make decisions. The mid-level managers cannot make decisions and they don’t know how. They don’t feel powerful enough and they don’t know how. It’s a process and it’s a $1.4 billion problem for that industry.
An analysis paralysis.
There you go. What happens to the line of jeans or whatever is on that line is it slows down because there’s no decision. It’s all managed by fire and I don’t mean firing people but trying to put out fires.
“They need this order. Do we have to cut back on the quality control?” “I don’t know. Get it done.”
You get it. We super niched her in decision-making. She became a decision-making coach. She couldn’t even get CEOs to take any phone calls with her and now they try to get into her executive roundtables.The way to differentiation is through super niching. Click To Tweet
They’re like, “This is us. We see ourselves in that.” I had a high-tech medical company say to me, “We have to call on doctors in between surgeries and we feel like an annoying pest.” I’m like, “Would you like to be seen as a welcome guest instead of an annoying pest?” “Yes.” People always have time for a good story. Not for you to dump off a bunch of product information between surgeries. Listening to what people’s pain point is and turning it into marketing copy, you and I are completely on the same page there. What are the big mistakes you see people making in their messaging?
One is not niching. It’s too generic. Most people are terrified of niching down into an industry. The secret is that there are some channels that are not developed enough, like podcast channels. They’re not developed enough to have enough presence in one industry. I get that. If your entire funnel is podcasting, I get that there isn’t healthcare, 500 healthcare podcast. You can be a little more generic for that, but in general, they’re terrified of going deep into an industry and using language in their marketing on their website for that industry. They’re like, “I can’t turn it off because what if other industries want to purchase?”
They can still purchase but there are many benefits to being known in that industry, because you know the whole 7 to 12 touchpoints. If you’re in the same industry, you can touch them all day long, every day in the same circles. There’s the word of mouth that keeps going faster and faster. Those are the things people are afraid of. They don’t know or understand how to niche in one facet of a pain point. They don’t understand that they don’t get it. People like you understand it, but you’re a strategist. Most businesses don’t understand how to differentiate and how to niche.
You talk about in your books, Gentle Marketing, How to Win Friends the Way Apple Wins Customers. Tell us what you mean by that.
Those are two different books, but it’s everything. Every time I opened my mouth or wrote a book, it’s all the same concept about getting focused. I wrote the Apple book because of my TV tour. I would go on TV and I’d bring a shelter dog and they get adopted on the air, but it was all part of the story that what Apple does is when they used to be open, we’re in Toronto. We’re still closed, but they had the geniuses. You would walk in and they would treat you like gold. They would greet you as a dog would greet you. If you ever treated any human-like that, they’d become a friend for life. Those are some of the metaphors, but it’s all true for business too because you have to get specialized. Apple’s not for everyone. They started with the creative text and then they went on.
Think different and go against the stock. It went from the original Super Bowl commercial all the way through to, “If everything you buy is Apple, we’ll make it all work.” That alone, that Genius Bar, nobody else has that. That one-on-one attention and we’ll train you how to create a PowerPoint or whatever it is, I’m in.
If you treat your friends like that, if you’re there for them, you greet them. You’re not everybody’s friend, but you spend more time with them. These are all things that I teach for businesses is that whole focus, talking about their language and being there for them.
Retail, in particular. First, it had to shut down during the quarantine. They opened back up only to have to shut down again with protests and rioting. What do you think are some of the hardest challenges ahead for businesses like that after this all opens up again?
Anything that has humans in large numbers is going to be that. People are scared of going there and going back. It’s going to take a while for them to lose that fear, to see that people are interacting normally. They’re going to open up. Some brave conferences are still going to have them in the fall, but I’m curious to see how many of those 5,000 people that I’m used to seeing are going to be there because I certainly won’t be.
Who wants to be the first?
I’ve developed a much more superior model. I’m going to say I quadrupled my business during COVID and never had to get on a plane again as long as I lived. Don’t you want to say that?
That road-warrior thing can get old for people. The joke with speakers is we speak for free. They pay us to travel.
It’s how I felt.
Any last thought or quote that you want to leave us with?
I want people to let go of the fear and it is a fear of scarcity and it is a fear of being different. Don’t do it by yourself. Hire someone like you or me, a professional. You don’t ask your contractor or your gardener to draw up a blueprint. The city wouldn’t even give you a permit to build if that was the case. In business, they do that all the time. They go to SEO. They go to ad agencies who put lipstick on the pig or they go to anybody and everybody to ask them to do a blueprint for their structure of what their communication strategy needs to be. These people are not the architects of such a thing. Stop doing that. That’s my biggest. Ask the market and you don’t know how to do that. Ask the strategist to show you how to ask the market and then do something around that. Don’t be afraid of the advice that they give you because it’s all going to be around getting small to get big.
I’m open to people who are 6 and 7-figure businesses who are looking for this super niching help and they could reach me at Repositioner.com/schedule. You’ll be able to book a call with me if you’re in that process of looking at your super niche and if you’re interested in going further on that, I’d be more than happy to talk to you. There’s a lovely video there too, John.
If you don’t use your expertise and you aren’t super niched, you will waste a lot of time and lose a lot of clients. There’s the need to take action now. Thanks for being on the show and sharing your wisdom.
Thank you. I never thought I’d meet anyone like you, John, somebody who thought like me about niching, pitching, and all that.
- Chala Dincoy
- Gentle Marketing: How to Gently Attract Loads of New Customers!
- How to Win Friends the Way Apple Wins Customers
- Be the Lifeguard of Your Own Life
- Polish My Pitch
- The Extra Scoop
- The Repositioning Expert – Facebook
Wanna Host Your Own Podcast?
Get your FREE Sneak Peek of John’s new book Better Selling Through Storytelling
John Livesay, The Pitch Whisperer
Share The Show
Did you enjoy the show? I’d love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!
- Click this link
- Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
- Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
- Click on ‘Write a Review’
- John Livesay Facebook
- John Livesay Twitter
- John Livesay LinkedIn
- John Livesay YouTube