In sports, MVP stands for most valuable player. In marketing and sales, the letters stand for Message, Vehicles and People. These three components are arguably the most valuable things you can focus on if you want to communicate effectively and dominate your market.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today co-host Chris Templeton and I are here to discuss the MVPs of marketing and sales. Welcome Chris.
Chris: David, thank you. Great to be here. You know, for years you’ve been talking about the MVP of sales, but for those who don’t have the benefit of really understanding what you mean by that, help them to understand what the term MVP of sales means.
David: Okay. When we think in terms of the MVPs of marketing and sales, it’s just like the most valuable players in sports. But when it comes to marketing and sales, it stands for something different. So, in marketing and sales, it stands for Message, Vehicles, and People. So essentially what we’re asking is what is the marketing (M)essage that I want to convey? That’s the M part of it. Which combination of marketing (V)ehicles am I going to use to communicate the message? And then who are the (P)eople or prospects that I want to reach? And when you get these three things right, your promotion is almost inevitably successful. And if you get just one of them wrong, it’s inevitably not successful.
Chris: It’s like a three-legged stool.
Chris: And so, the first leg of that stool is messaging. And I think a lot of people don’t have a clear understanding of the value of messaging, what it means and how to be consistent about it.
David: Yeah. Most business people communicate a lot, right? We’re communicating all the time. We’re interacting with people, we’re having conversations. But very often what we’re saying is not strategic. We’re not necessarily thinking about it in advance. We don’t think in terms of it as messaging. We just think of it in terms of communication and the idea of the messaging is to think in advance, what do I want to have happen as a result of this interaction, this conversation, whether it’s a discussion with someone, whether it’s a sales call, whether it’s an email, a social media post, whatever it is. What is the goal of the communication? What do I want to have happen as a result of having this communication? So if it’s early stages and I’m just meeting someone for the first time and I want to get them comfortable with me, obviously the messaging is going to be different than if it’s somebody that I’ve been talking to for a while and we’ve been talking about putting something together and we’re trying to get a sale closed. Communication is different, but it’s always strategic and we should always have some sort of goal in mind when we initiate that message.
Chris: I think a lot of people have a tendency to say, oh, I just want the sale. And I imagine a big piece of what you’re talking about with your clients is, wait, what are the steps? So talk a little bit about that in terms of messaging and, and the results you’re looking for.
David: Okay. Well, most salespeople, if they are thinking, I just want the sale, and that’s true, they’re probably going to want the sale. And that’s perfectly natural, but it’s very unlikely that you’re going to make the sale in that first conversation unless you’re selling something very inexpensive, that’s very easy for someone to make a decision about. But the reality is that in the early stages, first of all, they have to get to know us. So a lot of our communication, a lot of our messaging is simply about letting them know who we are, making them aware that we exist. We talked about this in a previous podcast. So the early stage messaging is about that. Getting them comfortable with us, confident enough with us that they will place that first time order. And even throughout those conversations, assuming it takes more than one, which it often will, that the closer we get to actually making that sale, the more focused the conversations become. In other words, the middle conversations might be about specific products that they’re looking for and providing pricing and that sort of thing. And those conversations will be happening a lot closer to the sale. Whereas earlier in the conversation it’s about getting them comfortable.
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Chris: Talk about the importance of comfort because I think a lot of people think, well, you know, here I am, I've got this product and I just want to tell you about it. And then you can buy it and comfort and I think trust is another word that kind of fits in this. Talk about how you define that
David: Comfort is critical obviously in selling because if I'm not comfortable with you, I'm not going to buy anything from you. So I not only need to be comfortable in the fact that you've got a product that is decent, that's going to work, it's going to accomplish what it is that looking to have accomplished; but I have to feel comfortable with you. I have to feel comfortable with the idea of your company, of working with you. And so without that there's very little that's going to happen. There's an old adage in sales that people do business with those they know, like, and trust, and that's been beaten over the head of so many salespeople and to some degree it's true and to some degree it's a really an oversimplification. We can talk about that at another time, but the idea there that people need to have some level of trust with you is absolutely true. It's absolutely critical. If it doesn't happen, if they're not comfortable, then there's nothing that's going to get sold.
Chris: I used to say in a previous life, you know, it's about building a relationship. And that first step really is about building comfort, isn't it?
David: It is. It's establishing the fact that you're here and that you can potentially help. And then once they buy into that idea, assuming they do, then you can move forward and actually start talking to them about solutions.
Chris: So the first leg of this three legged stool is messaging, and the second one is vehicles. Talk a little bit about vehicles and what you mean by that when we're talking about this process of MVP.
David: Okay, so the marketing vehicles are essentially what you're using to communicate the message. Examples of marketing vehicle could be an email, could be a phone call, could be a voicemail message, could be a text, could be a social media post, a blog post, a podcast like we're doing now. All of these things are essentially delivery vehicles. They are there to deliver the message. And when you use the right combination of marketing vehicles, you're able to accomplish a lot more than if you're just, for example, maybe using one. If you've called somebody on the phone again and again and again, you start driving them crazy. It's because you're not mixing up your marketing vehicles. They're getting used to hearing from you in one format and that can get overbearing fairly quickly.
Chris: Is there some kind of a magic combination? I think one of the things I think we're moving towards is people relying more on electronic messaging and not enough on phone, but when you look at it, it is there marketing magic in terms of a combination there?
David: I wish there were one perfect magic combination of marketing vehicles. There really isn't, but there are some things that I've found particularly helpful. First of all is determining what is your prospect's primary desired method of communication. Because if the person you're communicating with prefers to do business via text and email and you're trying to call them on the phone, you're going to have a mismatch and it probably won't end well for you because the way that they want to communicate will generally trump the way that you want to communicate. So figuring out the person that I'm interacting with, how do they prefer to communicate? Sometimes it's as simple as asking them, “Hey listen, what's your preferred method of communication?” and whatever that is, try to honor it as much as possible. Now, with that said, sometimes people are not responsive to the method of communication that they said is preferable to them. So in those cases we might have to mix it up a bit and call them. Even if they're not responding to the email and they say they prefer that, you might have to give them a call and say, “Hey, listen, I've been trying to send you an email, haven't heard back from you. Can you please email me back or give me a call and let me know what's going on?”
Chris: Just out of curiosity, what's your take on texting as a primary means of communication?
David: Yeah, people really have to be comfortable with it. Before you start doing that. I would certainly not recommend it as initiating a form of contact with someone you don't know. You don't want to be doing text spamming of people who don't know you, but if they've got enough of a comfort level with you that they're okay with hearing from you that way, then it can be pretty effective at this point because it's not completely overdone as are many other methods of marketing.
Chris: And from my standpoint, I think it's one of the more personal ways of communicating and once you've established that comfort level with somebody, then I think it can be one of the ways, but it shouldn't be the only way. Do you think?
David: Right. Because it's hard to get in depth. It's hard to really establish any sort of emotional connection with people via text. So yes, I think it's one particular weapon in the arsenal if we’re using sort of war analogies, which I didn't mean to do.
Chris: Yeah. And then the other question is, you know, should we be using the phone more?
David: It really depends. The phone can be helpful at times, but the person you're talking to has to be receptive to it because if they're not, they're going to get annoyed quickly.
Chris: Primary desired method of communication, right. Like you said earlier, asking is a great way to find out.
David: And people are happy to tell you usually.
Chris: Exactly and I think it builds a comfort level. Hey, this guy really cares about what's important to me versus just, Hey, let's get you this product.
David: Right. Or let's do business and let's communicate the way that I want to communicate.
Chris: Exactly. I really think the piece of that is really about empathy and understanding who that person is and each one is different, aren't they?
David: They sure are.
Chris: We've talked about People as the third leg of the stool, kind of through each of the first two steps, Messaging and Vehicles, but let's talk about it a little bit more and how that applies in the three legged stool.
David: Okay. Well the people or prospects obviously are critical. If I'm selling blenders and I've got a list of people who have no interest in buying blenders, then the perfectly crafted message about blenders delivered using exactly the right combination of marketing vehicles is not going to sell any blenders. Okay? So it's all about who am I getting to and am I reaching the right people and we don't always know that up front. Obviously when we're choosing and when we're targeting the people that we want to go after as we discussed in a previous episode, that's important. Looking at the people that we think could possibly be interested in what it is that we sell. And then some of our communication is going to be designed to find out whether or not we're right when we get into the qualification aspects of communication. But the people part of the stool though, that third leg of the stool is absolutely critical and it doesn't even necessarily come third. That's just sort of the way that we ordered it because you can't put out a message until you know who it's going to. So the people part of it is critical and making sure that your messaging and your marketing vehicle matches up with the person or prospect you want to reach is going to be the thing that ensures your success.
Chris: When you look at that in terms of saying, okay, who am I sending it to and does my message meet what they're looking for? I think it's one of the things that is probably hardest for businesses to do, is to move from what my product can do - what did they used to say? Features and benefits, versus what is it that my prospective client is looking for? Is that a big piece of what you look out and teach?
David: Yeah, beyond the features and benefits, which is something that every salesperson has been beaten over the head with and it's very good stuff. They need to know what the features of the product are. They need to know what the product is going to do for them. And most salespeople recognize that the benefits are usually more important than the features and that people care more about what it will do for them than what this specifics of the product are. That's very important, but then particularly now, because most salespeople know that they need to focus on features and benefits, but if you want to get beyond that, then it really gets into, and this is a whole other topic for another podcast, it would really potentially get into the emotions and the experiences of what it's like to own this, or to have this, or to be involved in this relationship.
And that goes way beyond benefits. I can say to you, the benefit of this is that it does that, but if we talk about, listen, when you have this in your business and it's doing this for you, or it's doing that for you, how's that going to feel? What's that to do for your quality of life, for your existence? Right? So if people can start to picture that, then the features are completely out the window. The benefits are helpful, but once they can get into that mindset of what is the emotion, what's the experience of owning this and interacting with it and having it work in my life, that's when people can really make a decision and feel great about it.
Chris: And when I can do that and at the same time create that comfort with this person and have this MVP process of Messaging Vehicles and People, I think I'm in rarefied air compared to most sales-people, don't you?
David: I do because most don't think about it and most don't build it into their processes. Right?
Chris: Right. So let's wrap up with the MVP process and what are the action steps that somebody needs to implement to make this start happening?
David: Okay, so if you want to implement it right away, all you have to do is consider, with every promotion you do, anytime you're going to put together a communication to someone, just think in terms of the MVPs of marketing.
The MVPs of Marketing and Sales
If you're contacting one person about one thing, obviously it's much easier because you know essentially what you want to communicate, you know who you're communicating it to and you'd probably make a decision at that point about which marketing vehicle you'll use. Am I going to call them? Am I going to email them? How am I going to do that? Those three things when you get them right are going to make everything you do far more effective and as I said earlier, you get all three, right? You've got a successful promotion, you get one wrong and your promotion is never going to be as successful as you want it to be.
Chris: And of course, the other way is to go to topsecrets.com and get the kind of coaching that you need.
David: And actually if there's anybody who's listening to this podcast who would just like to jump on a call and we can talk about the MVPs of their business, what they can do is they can go to topsecrets.com/call that's topsecrets.com/call they can schedule a call, we can have the conversation, see how it applies to what they're doing. If it does, great, if it doesn't, that's fine too. They'll still get a lot out of it.
Chris: That is quite an offer. Excellent. Let's wrap up with letting us know what's coming next.
David: Okay, and our next podcast we're going to be talking about the four step success cycle. This is the way to get the very most out of any education that you're getting as far as how to do things better and differently in your business. It's not just a matter of learning stuff and we're going to be talking about that next.
Chris: David, Blaise, thank you so much. What I think is really neat is that you are willing to have a sit down conversation with somebody on the phone, and the way to get that done is to go to topsecrets.com/call thanks so much and we will see you on the next podcast. Thanks, David.
David: Thank you Chris.
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