Watch this super cool video interview of Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid and his newest – The Contrarian Effect.
Thanks to my colleague, Joan Curtis for turning me on to Michael’s recent MSNBC interview.
We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more experts, yet more problems.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much and listen too little.
We love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
We have higher incomes, but lower morals.
We build more computers to hold more information that we print on more paper than ever before. But we communicate less and connect less.
We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce, of fancier houses, but broken homes.
We have pills to grow hair, pills to stop allergies, pills to lose weight and pills to help sex. And we have parents who wonder why their children pop pills.
It is a time when there is more in the show window and less in the stockroom.
Disclosure: The author is unknown to me. I came across the list a few years ago, but no one’s name was attached. Still, they certainly seem to apply today.
Any that you would add?
Convincing people to buy from you is sort of like fishing. To catch those fish you need a product or service that someone else needs, a process you work consistently, a hook with the right kind of bait, patience and great timing. When it gets right down to it, your ability to attract clients and close sales is not that much different.
Lose the Pitch
If you stop and think about it for a minute, it’s pretty obvious that Mr. or Ms. Fish isn’t likely to swim right up to you and jump on that hook the moment you throw it in the water. Why then would you expect your potential client to pry open their wallet the moment you throw something at them? If they don’t need what you have to offer, you are simply wasting time, money and effort on trying to convince them that they do.
And that’s the problem.
Whether it’s your marketing materials or a face to face sales call, most people spend more time talking about themselves than they do asking good questions and then listening to the answers. To build relationships that lead to closing business, you have to listen more than you talk. And though you might think this doesn’t apply to your marketing collateral, it absolutely does!
Blah Blah Blah
After a conference I recently attended, I took the time to go through each piece of literature that had been included in the conference tote we were given when we arrived at the event. That’s a rarity in itself…going back and reading all the material I mean…but in every presentation I deliver or coaching session I conduct, I continually reinforce the importance of knowing what your competition is doing. I was curious. How were these companies marketing their services? Would I feel compelled to buy from any of these companies or would I at least want to know more? What did I like about the way in which the message was presented? What could I learn that would benefit me or my clients?
The problem with most of these materials is that they are nothing more than blah, blah, blah. These pieces were Boring, Long, Aggravating and Horrendous. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue what half these companies were actually trying to say much less sell.
Here are a few snippets from several of the flyers…you tell me…do they work for you? They sure didn’t for me.
“Your charter is to create and systemically deploy an effective Talent Management strategy that is aligned with business strategy and that can close the gaps in the leadership pipeline…”
Actually, the sentence was quite a bit longer and even more confusing. I think you get the point though. While I believe their goal was to identify the challenge their potential client faces, they totally missed the mark.
“Developing your leaders and employees faster”
OK. On the surface this might seem like a pretty good benefit, because you’d eliminate time away from the job. But who really cares if you can train people faster if you don’t see tangible results? You know, like sales. This marketing piece talked about results and never actually said WHAT honest to god tangible results they could deliver.
“Increasing awareness and market/mindshare.”
Marketing speak that says nothing. Awareness is great and mindshare in the market is nice, but that doesn’t guarantee sales. Awareness and mindshare only end up being important if they convert to sales of what you have to offer.
“Transforms the hiring and promoting process by clearly identifying high potentials and aligning their talents to the organization over time.”
I sort of get this one, it’s about putting the right people in the right role, so why not just say that? I’m not sure the company cares about “transforming the process”. I’m pretty sure what they’d want is a way to quickly identify the right person with the right skills, so they can put them in the right position, which ultimately makes the company money, saves them money or both.
The problem with each one of these statements is that they are somebody’s idea of fancy schmanchy marketing. They think its clever and it makes sense to them but no one else. That’s the problem with most sales collateral. All it does is talk at you NOT to you.
Sell Value and Results Not Features
When will people learn? Your potential customers do not care about the process of how you get things done. Nor do they really care about the technical details. What they care about is the actual RESULT they receive when they buy from you. Tell them that working with you will increase their sales by 50% or more. Tell them that your service will send 1000 new buying customers to their internet doorstep each month. Tell them that you can help them convert leads into sales.
Forget the process and all the jargon. Talk about the tangible results you deliver. That’s how you turn blah into BLING!
Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, something else comes along to stump me. No wonder those without a lot of tech ability get frustrated. I understand. But since I’m making it my business to help others learn how to use technology bolster their sales and marketing efforts, it’s important I try things and get them figured out.
Why when I imported text from my old blog to the new one did it run everything together? I’ve tried several things to fix it, but no luck yet. Ah well…what’s life without a few challenges now and again?
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