What's the mainstream version of what you do?
When should someone seek you out?
Your prospective clients don't know the nuances of your field.
If you're an energy healer, they don't know that there 15 different modalities (or whatever).
If you're a relationship counselor, they don't need to know that there are 8 different philosophies.
If you're a life coach, they don't need to know that there are 5 major life coaching schools and why the one you graduated from is different from the rest.
Your prospective clients don't value the nuances that you spent years immersed in.
Talk only about the things they understand and value. Describe your service in a way that they can easily "get"...
For example, energy healing: how is that different from what normal physicians do? The conventional doctors work on the physical body only, unaware of any level beyond, and using what are sometimes intrusive methods with bad side effects. An energy healer might instead work on the subtle/spiritual level that strengthens the body's power to heal itself.
Secondly, when does someone ideally seek out energy healing vs. the mainstream doctors? Perhaps after a patient has gone through invasive surgery and needs the body to heal more quickly? Or in conjunction with chemotherapy so the body and emotions can be supported at a profound level so as to not break down? Or before a physical problem gets so bad that conventional medicine is the last resort?
I encourage you to answer these three questions:
1. What's the mainstream version to what you do, that people can easily understand?
2. How are you different from that mainstream alternative?
3. At what point should your ideal client seek you out? Sometimes you are not a substitute to mainstream, but instead you might be a complement to what mainstream does. (This is why alternative medicine is often called "complementary medicine.")
You're welcome to comment at the bottom of this Facebook thread with your answers, if you'd like.
My own example:
I'm an alternative to the typical internet marketing expert, who teaches quick profits (which are unrealistic for 95% of their students), often to the detriment of the long-term trust and viability of one's audience, business, health, relationship, and spiritual integrity...
Prospective clients seek me out often after they have become deeply turned off by that conventional, money-driven marketing expert and their strategies... (and unfortunately, after some have already being taken for thousands of dollars.)
By the time they come to me, they've gotten wiser to what business strategies they truly don't resonate with, and now, are less likely to be sucked in again by those conventional methods. They are seeking an alternative that feels true, that is aligned with their integrity and sense of service.
In summary, I'm a marketing consultant (mainstream title) who helps service providers gain new clients (mainstream benefit) through conscious and heart-based methods (what makes me unique from the mainstream). Clients love working with me after they've realized that typical marketing methods don't feel aligned with their higher purpose (when clients seek me out.)
Now it's your turn to answer the questions above and come up with your summary.
Once you do, share it with your friends & supportive colleagues, and see if they have any suggestions.
Use their feedback to improve your description until it's so concise and simple to understand, that people can easily refer you onward.
You can see how some other people answered the above questions, and add your own, at the bottom of this Facebook thread.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for Counselors, Coaches, Speakers, and Authors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.