What are you telling the market?

What are you currently telling the market about what you do and how you do it? Do you talk about service? Do you talk about professionalism? Do you talk about speed of service or competitive pricing? Whatever it is you’re saying, be careful. Because the things you tell the market about yourself can be deadly.

David: Hi and welcome to the podcast today cohost Chris Templeton and I will be talking about the things we say to the market about ourselves, and how they impact our business. Welcome Chris.

Chris: Hi David. You know, in business we have to tell the market about ourselves so that they’ll know what to expect. What do you mean when you say that can be deadly?

David: Well, whenever we’re going to the market with a message, particularly if the market is not familiar with us, when we go out there with any sort of marketing message, I generally go in with the idea that, for the most part, they’re going to be inclined to believe what you say. So if I go to the market with a message that says “I’m the fastest at what I do, I provide lightning fast service, I’m very responsive.” Then people are going to, even if they don’t initially believe it, they’re going to expect it of you simply because you said it. If I go to the market and I say “I provide the most cost effective service, I can provide the cheapest price,” then for whatever it’s worth, they’re going to accept that and say, “okay, this company says they provide a low price. I’m going to go in with the idea that they probably have low prices,” it may or may not be the case, but that’s likely how I’m going to go in. So what I’m talking about here is that particularly in the early stages of relationship, whatever it is, we tell the market about us, they’re likely to believe. So we want to make sure that we’re saying things that we can deliver on consistently. And sometimes our temptation to try to give people what we think they want, leads us to make claims, make statements about our businesses that may not be in our best interest.

Chris: So give everybody some ideas of the types of claims that you think are going to create the biggest problems.

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David: Well, I think in a lot of cases it's like the examples that I gave. If you say that you're fast, what type of clients are you going to attract? People who do things at the last minute, you're going to attract procrastinators because they're going to expect you to get it done quickly. If you go to the market and you say you're cheap, you're the cheapest, you provide the lowest price, then they're going to expect you to be able to come in with the lowest price every time, which could directly impact your margins, which would directly impact your margins. So very often the type of things that we think a client might want, like speed and price are the things that are toughest, particularly if we're not geared to deliver that. Now in different professions it's different. I mean obviously in a medical profession you're not going to go in talking about price or speed. You're going to be talking about your ability to create a positive outcome for a patient, right? That's the type of thing that you're going to want to be focused on. In other industries and other businesses, the sales approach is often geared toward things like creativity. We come up with creative solutions. If you're in some sort of advertising space, then it might all be about creativity. And very often the idea of creativity and low price don't always go together. Because in order to have the creativity, you might have to have employees who cost a little more to be able to generate those ideas. And sometimes these ideas are incompatible. So a lot of what we need to do is to identify it early on in our business. What do we want to be known for? What is it that we want people to think about us and make sure that that is built into our messaging at every single stage.

Chris: Well, that's the thing that's killing me about this conversation right now is, if I want to, as a business owner, portray my businesses being fast or cheap. Unless I'm Little Caesars or Dominoes, I don't know that that serves me in terms of an overall great impression.

David: Yeah. Or Walmart in the low cost area.

Chris: Right.

David: And that's the danger... Is that whatever it is you do and whatever market you're in, you know, do you want to be seen as the Walmart? Do you want to be seen as the Little Caesars? And if you're not Walmart or Little Caesars, then the answer is probably no, because you're not going to be able to beat them, you know, going to be able to beat them at their own game. So I think a lot of it, is about deciding what is it that we're really good at? What is it that we're passionate about? What is it that we love doing? And try to build that in, because there's going to be a market for each different segment like that. There's a percentage of the audience that only ever wants the cheapest thing. And you have to ask yourself, “is that the part of the market that I really want to target” or do I want to target a part of the market that is actually looking for the things that I enjoy doing and that I'm good at?

Chris: And that my creativity, if that's what I'm selling is something that doesn't come fast or cheap but is something that really is a collaborative process that you're going to enjoy. That sort of thing I think is going to be a whole lot better of an approach, wouldn't you say?

David: Yeah, without a doubt and I think it will also help to attract the type of clients we want to have. It's going to be a much better “message to market match,” and as a result, if we talk about the things that we're passionate about too, we'll also be able to speak with much more emotion and people will probably become a lot more engaged with that.

Chris: Boy, isn't that the truth? Okay. We've talked about if we say too much how that can get us in trouble, but what if we say too little? Then people, they're not going to know enough to be able to make a buying decision. How do you find the balance for that?

David: Yeah, that's a really big challenge because you hit it right on the head. If we just do the whole thing that some salespeople do or they just keep talking and talking and talking and just try to exhaust people into saying yes, very often you will end up saying something that will derail the sale. You can end up talking yourself out of a sale. That's a very common expression. If you don't give them enough information to be able to make a decision, then of course they can't reach a buying decision. So the way that I look at finding a balance is to determine, what are the primary things that need to be said? What are the things that in every sales conversation you have need to be said, and this can just be bullet pointed out. Maybe it's half a dozen things. Maybe it's a few more than that, but in every sales conversation, there are a few things that you want to make sure are stated. What are they, what's the best order for those things? I'd encourage you to put that together, bullet-point it out and make sure that those things are present in each conversation. That way you'll know you're hitting the essentials, but you won't go veering off into a lot of other areas that can just get people distracted and cause them to lose focus.

Chris: And I think it also goes back to determining those things are the things that you're most passionate about, wouldn't you say?

David: Yes, and the things that people need to know in order to be able to consummate the deal. Also, what you'll find is that if you put together a bullet point list of things that you cover, if you continually get the same questions after that, you can make sure that you then build the answers to those questions into your points. You can add another point there, and then systematically build out a presentation that will cover the majority of situations you'll find yourself in.

Chris: And that really goes back to a previous podcast about handling objections. It's not so much about going to battle with objections, but knowing the common things that people are going to have concerns about and being able to answer them in a forthright and concise way.

David: Yeah, no question.

Chris: So what are the best ways to communicate what we do, without leaving things out on the one hand or sounding like we're exaggerating or bragging on the other?

David: Once again, it's a difficult balance. I think the best way to do that is with case studies. If you've got video or audio or text of a client talking about how you solved a particular problem, in a way that was beneficial, that is going to accomplish both things. Because if I say it about myself, “Hey listen, I'm really great. I'm going to get you great results.” That sounds like it's bragging. It might sound like it's exaggeration. If you see a video on my website, if somebody saying, “Hey, this guy got me incredible results, I was able to grow my sales by a factor of whatever,” then you're going to listen to that and say, Oh, okay, that's far more credible. So ideally, if we have the option of doing that, utilizing testimonials, utilizing case studies is going to be the most effective way to make that happen.

Chris: And such a powerful way. I often think that that's the next best thing to a referral when a potential customer gets to see what another customer has had as an experience, especially when it's a really positive one, boy oh boy, that goes a long way, doesn't it?

David: It does and one of the things that we've been able to do very effectively in our business is to be able to highlight the people who have had successes with what we do. We have, on our website, something I refer to as the Wall of Fame. And the Wall of Fame, essentially, is one webpage that has dozens and dozens, I don't even know how many are on there now. It might be over a hundred now, but a lot of different clients who have gotten great results. And so one of the things that we do when we're talking to a prospect is, we'll show them the Wall of Fame and we'll say, “hey, listen, would you like to be on the Wall of Fame?” And then they can decide and if they'd like to be on the Wall of Fame, if they'd like to be saying the kinds of things that these clients are saying, it inspires them to want to do business with us. Incidentally, I’ll mention the link if somebody wants to see what that looks like, if you want to incorporate something like that in your own business. Our Wall of Fame is located at TopSecrets.com/feedback. That's TopSecrets.com/feedback. And that's our Wall of Fame with customers who achieved great results with us.

Chris: Such a great way to generate new businesses isn’t it? Having that?

David: Yeah, it's nice when you're able to accomplish results for someone, and that's the whole reason that any of us are in business. If we can't get results for the people we're working with, then why are we doing it? You mentioned Little Caesar's or Domino's. The result is what “fresh, hot pizza, 30 minutes or less,” right? For Domino’s? That's a result. If you can't get the results, then do something else.

Chris: Absolutely. Okay. Let's talk about what steps our listeners can take to improve what they're saying about themselves to the people in their market.

How to Improve What You're Telling the Market about Yourself

  1. Examine what your best prospects are already saying about you.
  2. Determine What You Would Like your prospects and clients to think and say about you. Practice it, and incorporate it into everything you do.
  3. Gather Testimonials & Case Studies. Get permission to share them, then make them available everywhere.
  4. Identify Misconceptions. What do people get wrong about you? What don't they understand? Clarify those things as quickly as possible.

David: Okay. Chris. Well I’d start out with examining what it is that your best prospects are saying about you. You can, a lot of times, get really good insights about what the people who are paying you think about what you do well. You also want to think in terms of what you would like them to say. What is it that you want people to think and say about you? That'd be the second thing. Write it down. Practice it. Incorporate it into everything you do, because the more you do that, the better you will get at getting people programmed to think and say that. And this doesn't just stop with the marketing before you've had somebody be a client. This is the kind of thing that you want them exposed to all the way through the process, so they buy from you and they're continually hearing all the things that you would like them to think and know about you and repeat to the people they know. Third thing is to gather testimonials, gather case studies and get permission to share those because when you've got that sort of thing, it's going to be able to sell you and your business a lot better than you'll ever be able to do it by yourself. And then fourth one, sort of a bonus one, would be to identify any misconceptions that you think are out there in the marketplace. Things that they don't understand about you, things that they don't quite get, and to make sure that you clarify those things as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. If it's something that is being said about you that is actually, factually wrong, you want to be able to point that out and explain why it's wrong so that people can say, “Oh, okay, I always thought that you were this and that. However, I can now see how you are this other thing.”

Chris: It's a really powerful way to position yourself for great business now and in the future, isn't it?

David: Absolutely.

Chris: David Blaise, TopSecrets.com, thank you so much!

David: Thank you, Chris.

Chris: If you, as one of our audience members, would like to create top of mind awareness and dominate your market, go to TopSecrets.com/call to set up a strategy session, about 45 minutes long, and you will really enjoy it. And also, if you want to go see the Wall of Fame, go to TopSecrets.com/feedback. Thank you and we will see you on the next podcast.

David: Thanks Chris.

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