Getting clear on your basic messaging.

Until you get crystal clear on your basic messaging, who you serve and how you serve them, you’ll find yourself attracting either no clients at all or the wrong clients, and your customer acquisition efforts will take a whole lot longer.

David:                   Hi, and welcome to the podcast.  Today co-host Chris Templeton, and I will be talking about the idea of getting clear on your basic messaging. Welcome back, Chris. That’s my basic message.

Chris:                     I like that basic message. You’d think that most business owners and salespeople would already be clear on at least their basic messaging, but that is not always the case, is it?

David:                   No, it’s surprising how often it’s not the case. Very often people think in terms of just their products and services instead of the needs they fill and the problems they solve. And as we discussed in a previous podcast, there’s a big difference between product buyers and solution buyers.

David:                   And there are always a lot more people who are willing to pay for solutions. So the better we get at crafting our messaging so that it’s directed to the things they really want and need in their lives and in their businesses, the better off they’re going to be in terms of getting what they need and the better off we’re going to be in terms of being able to provide the solutions they need.

Chris:                     What do you think the biggest problems are in terms of people developing what their messaging is going to be?

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David:                   I think a really big problem is that much of it is "me focused." It's all about me and my business and what I do and how I do things, and it's not enough about them. It's not enough about the prospects and clients that we're actually trying to appeal to. So if I had to rank them in order, I would say that's first too much me-centric communication.

Chris:                     Yep.

David:                   A second thing I would say is that it's product focused instead of solutions focused, which is what we were just talking about a moment ago. When we're talking about the product itself or the service itself, then we're not focused on what it is that they're trying to accomplish. And before we can ever get to the solution, we need to sort of stir up the problem side of it a bit. So when we're talking to them about what they're looking to accomplish and what it means in their business or what it means in their life to accomplish this, that's what really gets them focused on the idea that they need it. And so when we leave out this component; talking to them about the issues they're facing before we recommend our solution, then we're missing out because they're thinking of it in terms of something that might be okay to have, but they're not thinking of it in terms of something that they really desperately need. And once again, that comes from focusing too much on our product and not enough on them and what they're looking for.

Chris:                     Give people an example of what that looks like and a little more detail in terms of stirring up that need.

David:                   Well, it’s depending on what it is that's being sold. If I start talking to you about sales training, for example, “Hey, we sell sales training, we help train salespeople and we're really good at sales training.” People think I don't necessarily need that. Why do I need that? But if we're talking to them about, “Hey, listen, how much are your salespeople costing you when they're out in the field and they're not doing the job that you've paid them to do? Have you had situations where you've got salespeople and they're out there and they're approaching the wrong people and they're saying the wrong things and they're not closing sales and they're leaving long gaps in between communications and they're creating a situation where essentially they could be giving your business a black-eye because they're not doing what needs to be done in terms of communication, in terms of presenting what you're able to do and the way that you're able to do it, the way that you want that to happen.”  So that's an example of creating a scenario where they look at it and they say, “Oh wow. Yeah.” Either that is happening, in which case I might be able to see the need for sales training or they say, “No, that's not happening. All my people are great.” In which case they're not really qualified.

Chris:                     And that's okay too. But you know, I think that that's really important in terms of getting to, what's the story that you can help them to be aware of? It's not doom and gloom. It's more about, Hey, these are the types of common things that I see from where I sit with the people that buy my products. They want to have their people be more effective or they want them to be communicating more often as salespeople. Those sorts of things really help to frame up and get the person who probably, especially if you're on an initial call is probably resistant anyway, and now what you've done is you've completely shifted the focus from me with the product to sell, to you and the need, right?

David:                   Yes. And it goes for whatever product it is that someone is selling. You know, if I'm a realtor and my job is to develop real estate clients, then talking to them about all the properties that I have right off the bat probably isn't a good approach. It might be better to talk to them about, “Hey, listen, have you ever had a situation where you approached a realtor and they were trying to figure out what you needed and they just couldn't get a handle on what you're looking for and you wasted lots of time and burned lots of weekends looking at places that just didn't meet your needs at all.” You know, that type of thing. You're creating a scenario where they can say, Oh yeah, I have had that situation. And then you talk about, okay, well this is how we're different. This is how we positioned ourselves differently.  And so no matter what it is that you're selling, you need to be able to have a clear idea of what are some of the issues that this prospect could potentially be facing. And can I paint a picture of that for them? The negative picture of potentially doing business somewhere else first and then the positive picture of what happens when you're doing business with me. That's sort of an ideal scenario in terms of messaging is to be able to create that contrast between what they're likely to experience elsewhere and what they're likely to experience with you.

Chris:                     Okay, so I'm going to have you do that again because it's important. You think about the pieces of advice that we give on this and we talked about you know, how to get to the decision maker in the last podcast. This is huge starting with issues that the prospect may have.  Right? And go through that process one more time just for good measure.

David:                   Okay. Well, it's simply, it's just about thinking it through from their perspective. What are the types of obstacles they might run into, what are the types of situations they might have that they might find infuriating? We do a lot of business in the promotional products industry and the print industry, so with printers and with promotional products people, very often their clients might've had experiences before where things didn't happen exactly the way they want it. Either they didn't get the ideas they needed or the stuff wasn't delivered on time or it wasn't printed the way that they want it. All these types of things. So, when you're interacting with a new prospect for the first time to be able to paint those pictures and say, “Hey, have you had much experience dealing with companies like ours?” Because a lot of the reason that we get the business that we get is because we've been able to overcome a lot of the problems that other companies would face. For example, if you've ever been in a situation or you had a midnight madness sale and the things that you ordered arrived the day after that, then you know that that's potentially problematic, right? So you can look at the situation, you can ask them questions and maybe they haven't had that exact experience. Maybe the experience they've had is, “Well, no, the person that I've had has been pretty good…”, but you might be able to find some issues that they've had along the way and you can then counter program yourself essentially and say, okay, well we're designed to be able to avoid those types of issues.

Chris:                     It really handles the whole me-focused concern that we talked about earlier in terms of the biggest problems that people have with their messaging. It totally shifts from me as the salesperson to you and then being able to provide a solution to that. I don't… Why is it David, that so many salespeople are so product oriented versus buyer oriented?

David:                   Well, it's probably easier because if we understand our products and services, we just want to talk about them. If I sell air conditioners, I want to talk to you about how big it is and how much air it's going to blow and the BTUs and all that kind of stuff because that's how I'm trained, but we need to think about it from the standpoint of the person who wants to buy it. They don't care about any of that stuff. You know, there's a lot of talk and sales about features and benefits. I know we've touched on this in previous podcasts and so the feature is that it's X number of BTUs and this is the size, so it fits into these different areas. The benefit will be that it fits into smaller areas. The feature is that it's this particular size, the feature is that it's this many BTUs and the benefit is that it cools your house fast or whatever it is. So there's features and there's benefits. People largely don't care about features. They do like benefits a little bit more, but beyond the features and benefits, it really gets into the experiences and the emotions. What's it going to feel like when you come home at the end of a long day and you walk in and it just feels great the moment you walk in the door, right? That's creating an emotion and an experience. So it goes well beyond features and benefits and it's what most people fail to do in their messaging.

Chris:                     You know, you said something that I think is really important as well.  As part of what is important to the person buying is getting to those feelings, without it being sappy or that sort of thing; but really helping them to get to those feelings that they're going to solve through the purchase of the product that's being sold. How do you do that in a way that doesn't come across as silly or sappy?

David:                   Well, I mean we're talking about two sides of the sale. We're talking about the logical side of the sale and we're talking about sort of the emotional side of the sale and people are going to be making decisions based on both those criteria. I would love to think that I am completely logical and I'm only going to take action based on the facts as they're presented and as I understand them and as I believe them, right? So, if I believe all the facts, I'm going to go in completely objectively and I'm going to make the right decision based on the facts. But the truth of the matter is that if we meet somebody and we strike up a conversation with them and we like the person, we are going to be far more likely to want to do business with that person than if we meet somebody else who presents the same information but maybe doesn't come across as as likable. So that's an emotional versus a factual decision and many of our decisions, many of our client's decisions are going to be made that way. So if you want to stack the deck in your favor, you need to make sure that you're firing on all thrusters. You're firing on all cylinders. And so that means approaching it from a factual standpoint and also approaching it from an emotional standpoint and it doesn't have to get involved. You don't have to get too deeply into it. But in the air conditioning example, you know it can be something as simple as that. Can you imagine what it feels like getting home now? You walk in the house and you're all sweaty, it's hot, you feel miserable. Can you imagine a scenario where you get home and you're happy to be able to walk through the door. You feel great about it. You know your spouse feels great about it, your family loves it, the dog loves it. You're just in a better environment as a result of making this decision. You're painting that picture for them and you're allowing them to write themselves into the story and envision it the way that you want them to envision it.

Chris:                     Boy, that is a great way to put it, it allows them to write themselves into that story and I think it's such a critical piece of looking at it from an emotional standpoint as well. Jeeze this feels good.  Now, it doesn't have to be over the top, that sort of thing, but just really tap into the whole story and the fullness of that story, both from what it does, features and benefits wise, but more in terms of how I'm going to feel, how much I'm going to enjoy having this product. There's one question that I want to come back to. Getting clear on messaging. It doesn't just help you communicate better, does it?

David:                   No, it helps with a lot of things. It helps first of all with all of your marketing, because people can read it; like if it's a newspaper ad or an online post or social media, something like that. If they read it and if it's crafted well, it's going to impact them better. They can listen to it. So if it's a radio ad, if it's an audio podcast, if it's an online audio, they can hear it. It can make sense to them and you're going to be able to get through. If it's a matter of seeing it, if it's a TV ad, if it's a social media video, if it's a video on Facebook or YouTube, all of these things, when your messaging is right, when it's coherent and they can buy into it, it just impacts all of that. And when you think about it from the standpoint of referrals, the easier you make it for people to understand what it is that you do, the easier it is for them to refer you to others. So the better we get at crafting our communication in a way that makes it easy for people to understand and explain, the more referral business you're going to get, the easier people will understand it and there'll be able to share it themselves.

Chris:                     Boy, it's really important to just keep that in mind that as you develop this messaging,  you're shooting yourself in the foot if it's not consistent across all of your communications so that you're building that sense of, I guess it's trust, David, just that we're consistent in our messaging.

David:                   Yeah, it certainly is that and also when we think in terms of making the messaging easier to understand, we can make it easy for our friends and our family to talk about what we do and how we help people and very often we make this mistake, particularly if we're operating in a business to business environment. We figure that our friends and family aren't necessarily related to all that, but they probably all know someone who is in a business to business environment and if they can explain to other people what you do in a simple enough way where they'll actually want to hear from you, then it's a lot easier to get those referrals.

Chris:                     Keeping it simple, stupid, right?

David:                   Yeah, exactly.

Chris:                     The old KISS method, I like it. Right. Okay. Let's talk about action steps that listeners should take if they want to make sure that their basic messaging is clear.

How to Make Sure Your Basic Messaging is Clear

  1. Change the Focus from you to them.
  2. Be Consistent. Make sure your messaging is consistent across all platforms and people.
  3. Use Simple Language. Make it easy for people to talk about what you do and refer you to others.
  4. When Explaining Benefits use "I am, I do and I help" statements, with particular focus on those you help.

David:                   Okay, well first thing we want to do is we want to change the focus from you to them. Make it about your prospects. The more you make it about them, the better off you'll be, their concerns, their problems, their issues, and how you help those problems. Second, you want to make sure your messaging is consistent across your organization and in all your marketing. If you've got one sales guy who says one thing and another sales guy who says another thing and that says something different than what's in your printed materials and that's different than what's on your website. You are just confusing people. So you want to make sure that your messaging is consistent across all platforms and people. Third, you want to use simple language that makes it easy for people to talk about you whenever they're referring you to other people and simple messaging that when they read it in an ad or hear it in an audio or see it in a video, they can understand it, internalize it, and they can then communicate it to other people. And the way that we do this, and we didn't really even get into this, but just really briefly, one of the ways that you want to think of this is in terms of three things. Okay. So if you want to put together some basic messaging that will position you correctly, think in terms of three things. The first thing is I am.  Who am I? I am a chiropractor, I am a sales representative. I am a printer, who am I? And the second thing is I do, what do I do? I adjust spines. If I'm a chiropractor, I provide the appropriate solutions for my clients. If I'm a sales rep or I provide printed solutions designed to get you the results you want. If I'm a printer, so it's I am, I do. And then probably most importantly I help. Who is it that you help? I help people with back pain to experience quick relief, if I'm a chiropractor. I help local businesses to achieve their desired results with printed materials that highlight their biggest advantages and benefits, if I'm a printer.  I help my clients get the results they need if I'm a sales rep. So we think in terms of those three things, and more often than not, it's the ‘I helps’ that are really going to make the biggest difference in terms of positioning you with clients and allowing them to understand what you do for them.

Chris:                     Well, and I think it also takes care of the default objection of you're just trying to sell me something when I move to I help you to accomplish X, Y, or Z. That is a whole different change in focus, isn't it? Absolutely. Another outstanding podcast. What do we have coming up in our next podcast, David?

David:                   Alright, next time we'll be talking about what works and what doesn't when it comes to your marketing vehicles.

Chris:                     Excellent, David, thank you. See you on the next podcast.

David:                   Sounds good. Thanks Chris.

If you're tired of flat or declining sales and losing business to your competitors, be sure to check out my latest web presentation entitled Programming Clients to Choose You. Who are your very best prospects currently programmed to buy from? Is it you or someone else? If you want it to be, you, visit and register for the free presentation now. That's



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