Blue Rhinos, Brown Dogs, and Ways to Change the Conversation.

Getting noticed is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. It’s top of mind for executives in marketing, sales, customer service, and public relations.

Not being noticed is a huge obstacle.

It makes it harder to sell your products, more difficult to impact market trends, and nearly impossible to change the world – let alone your small corner of the industry you play you.

But getting noticed is no easy task.

It’s a massive problem that can’t be solved with clown suits, free massages, or a dozen jelly donuts.

Getting people to stop what they are talking about and start talking about you is a struggle because it’s not a problem that you can ever do much about.

There’s isn’t a golden list of a half-dozen actions you drop into your sales process and magically improve your kill rate.

Let's be honest about this. Outrageous performance has never been about what you do. Shucks, even shysters and morons can play the right moves some of the time.

Getting noticed, like any other incredibly difficult challenge, is all about who you are.

It's about your attitude.

It's about becoming the blue rhino when everyone else is talking about brown dogs.

If you want to change the conversation -- if you what to get noticed -- you need to change the way you think about marketing, about sales, about PR.

Here are four of those things:

1. Be comfortable doing what everyone else thinks is wrong.

Most of us can't even wear different color shoe laces -- much less buck the system. Doing anything amazing starts with the belief that you have to be different. And not just "shades of gray" different. You have to be completely different.

For people to know that a new conversation exists (and want to be involved) you have to look, sound, and act dramatically different than anything that currently exists already. Otherwise, you just look like someone who doesn't have it all together.

2. Be candid about the things that annoy everybody around you.

There are ridiculous things that happen in any industry. There are people who act like morons and jerks. For some reason, we have no problem complaining about all this craziness over a beer with our buddies; but seem to lack the gumption to turn it into marketing leverage.

If you want to change the conversation and get people talking about you, start talking about all the crazy "industry think." And don't be a whiner. Spend the time to create intellectual arguments that get people thinking.

3. Be ruthless about putting in massive amounts of effort.

Believe that there are no "get rich" schemes. Believe it deep in your soul. One of the most debilitating things that happens to high-performers (especially "book worm" types) is the deep disappointment of investing in shortcuts.

No amount of money can replace personal attention. The same thing applies to vision and how you manage details. There is nothing to do but "DO". That's the attitude that you need to have. And if, in the process of expending massive amounts of effort, you happen to get "lucky", then be grateful. (And then get back to work…)

4. Be brutally personal and emotionally vulnerable

There are things that move you to tears. Things so personal you don't even tell your best friend, spouse, or family. Those are things that you need to be talking about.

Those are emotions that you need to be sharing. And while you don't want to be a cry-baby, you need to be passionate. And that doesn't mean hot-headed or annoyingly petty.

It means that you live your life ready to help, sometimes getting getting hurt, and always honest with your beliefs.

It all starts with you.

You can change the conversation and attract your dream client. You can get people talking about you even if you aren't the biggest company in your vertical.

The question isn't "if you can" but rather "why you want to"…

If your reason is big enough, your cause worth it enough, it's time you changed how you think about success and business.

It's time you became the blue rhino.