Three Scary Brand Questions

I told them I was going to make them uncomfortable.

# Scary Brand QuestionsA client asked me to speak to the students in the college level class he is teaching. He asked that I give them some basics about brand which they will be able to apply to change viewpoints about themselves and the departments they lead. These are guys and gals that want to become CIOs.

My advice came from these three questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why should I care?

I’ll bet answers don’t flow swiftly off your tongue.

That’s because we don’t think this way. Take the first question. Most of us begin with our name. Some go on to tell you their title and the organization they work in. Others tell you where they were born or grew up. Ex-military usually say so. Each of us answers differently and in doing so reveal a great deal about our personalities. Often, if people just wait you’ll reveal occurrences in your child hood that changed you for life.

You can’t hear what you are saying.

Yes, you may be able to repeat the words. But what is the meaning hidden within? Why was that event in your childhood so important for the person you are now? What do the decisions you discussed have to do with how you are seen now?  Why did you reveal these things? How are you hoping the information will be used?

The trick is to have someone tell you what you told them.

Suddenly, you will see yourself as others see you. That is what Personal Brand is all about.

You are not an “elevator speech.”

What you do is not who you are.  In North America, “What do you do?” is the most asked question. Unlike other parts of the world we tend to equate the two. www.beBee.com may help you cure yourself of this.

Conversation or Commercial?

Major corporations hire me to teach their executives how to Network. All of them assume I’m going to teach some form of Elevator pitch. I don’t. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation than have someone blurt a commercial at you? 30-Second Marketing makes you more memorable, builds trust in you and lets you know when you should ask, “What do you do?”

I used to answer: “I build websites that make rain.”

So what?

That is the question my sales mentor asked me. You’d do your pitch and he’d say” So What? Why is that important to the customer?”

I responded, “You know how since your niece or nephew went off to college you can’t change your web site? What we do is build you a site that you can change words and pictures on as much as you like. And we’ll be sure you can’t screw up the navigation.”

Good Question.

“Why should I care?” makes it easy to picture a prospect thinking that. Usually manners keep them from actually saying it.  But they think it…just like you do when someone obviously doesn’t understand your interest (or lack of it). Next time you begin to list features and benefits, Stop. Ask, as if you were them, “Why should I care?”

When it comes to Brand you’ve got to speak in their terms, not yours.

Get Scary.

Partner up with a friend. Answer the three questions. Give each other honest feedback. Notice how your brand becomes easier to understand for you as well as your friend, not to mention prospects, clients/customers and colleagues.


Jerry Fletcher is a beBee Ambassador and founder/Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

 

 

Brand is a Choice

Brand is CVhoiceEver take part in an on-line group?

You can call it a hive or a chat group, a fan page or even a mastermind. It all comes down to the same thing: somebody is trying to get traction for an idea or viewpoint.

You made a choice.

Why? What connected with you to cause you to sign up or opt in or get involved?

Often we join in because we’ve been wooed by profits raining down or we’ll get access or influence we might never enjoy on our own. We decide to get involved and then we rationalize.

Emotions control us more than we think.

For your brand, what you think, feel and believe are not important.

Don’t let emotion control how you brand yourself, your business and your products.

Why your customer selects your offering is the single most important consideration. Their choice is what defines your brand.

You have to get them to accept your view or idea before they will buy. Sometimes that takes a while. You have to be less of a funnel and more of a colleague.

Incorporate these 3 special marketing tips in your approach:

  • Make it easy for folks to understand. Give them resources that head where you are trying to get them to go. Use games and incentives to keep them interested. Let them add things that will help others come along.
  • Use your influence in this group and others to crank up the energy. Start a feedback loop with all the social networks available to you.
  • Get endorsed. Ask for good reviews. Have the contacts in group ask their friends and colleagues to help put your group over the top.

It works. Here’s an example:

Liam Austin, the founder of Small Today started a LinkedIn group in 2008.

Today, with over 100,000 members, it is the second largest group for small business owners on the platform.

A year ago Liam realized the group hadn’t yet seen its full potential.

Liam and his team created the LinkedIn Success Summit to give small business owners a chance to listen and learn from the very best. The experts and influencers that most of us wouldn’t have the chance to question and learn from otherwise.

Small Today followed with a summit on e-mail and another on Instagram. Each summit generated over 30 hours of video training and an Action Guide that includes a short summary with key-takeaways from each session.

After recognizing that “the money is in the list” Liam started to build his own email list.  He grew his list by 48,000 people in 8 months.

The original subscription for Small Today was $27/month. Today it is $70/month.

Do the math.


Jerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

Jerry Fletcher, Speaking in olombiaHis consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com

 

The Pitch Ain’t the Title

“A friend told me about trying to come up with a title for a screen play over lunch,” said Gail. “She’s trying to get ready for a meeting with an agent from Hollywood. Apparently you only get a very few minutes and what you say in the first few seconds is critical.” 30-SecondMarketing

Kate snorted and said, “Sounds like every other sales call to me! That is pretty much my day, every day. The thing is you have to know what the hot buttons are for every person you’re calling on and if you don’t you have to find a way to get their attention and their input. Every story can be shortened to the point where it is one sentence long. The trick is to make that sentence intriguing enough that it pulls people into the conversation with you. Fletch’s 30-Second Marketing is the way to do it in networking situations and can be applied in most sales situations as well.”

“You’re right,” I said. this goes by a bunch of names but what it comes down to when you have to write it is:

  • Tell the story in a paragraph or two concentrating on the emotions evoked
  • Shorten it to a sentence about the overall shift in the story
  • Work on the language in the sentence to make people experience it and yet want to know more.
  • Relate it to something familiar to them
  • Given all that, give it a title that leaves them wanting more.

For instance:
Would you like to view a film that centers on the transformation of a son, Michael, from reluctant family outsider to ruthless Mafia boss while also chronicling the family under the patriarch. A lot of people did. It was called The GodFather. As memorable as it is it was not one of the highest box office movies.

The current top in domestic, international and worldwide sales is a science fiction flick. In it, a paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a spy mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the new world he comes to feel is his home. Right. It was called Avatar and to date has made $2,783,918,982 worldwide.

The number two box office leader is one for history buffs and romantics. The fact that a supposedly unsinkable ship went down in the North Atlantic was given an emotional twist by the tale of a starving artist that becomes the love of a high class lady. It was called Titanic and the star-crossed lovers were, I believe, a pure fiction. It was called Titanic.”

Rob, our Buddha of Branding quietly said, “And that, brethren is what we call trimmin’ the fat. There be movies popular down home you don’t have to hear nuthin’ but the title to know what it’s about. Wonderful stories like Driving Miss Daisy, Steel Magnolias and, of course, Gone With the Wind. Notice how the title can be the story all by itself, or give you insight into the characters or summarize a way of life that vanished? The difference of seeing what y’all are trying to sell through the prospect’s imagination makes all the difference. Thing is, they will tell you how they see it. Just listen.”

The Takeaways:

  1. All sales is about finding common ground, understanding the problem and then finding the emotion that connects the prospect to the solution.
  2. You must orient your view, your language and your emphasis to the prospect’s vision.
  3. Get help. Talk to others. Listen to what they have to say. Respond by making your pitch and your title stronger.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copy and the Customer Journey

Bubba, the brand Buddha was pontificating as I slid into my seat. “Tain’t always what you say that matters, It’s what people hear.”

“What people believe already can be a big chunk of that,” I agreed. (I’m Jerry Fletcher and I’m the Watson of this unruly crew that meets over lunch on Fridays.) Customer Journey Map

“What people believe can make a real difference whether you’re talking printing or politics,” said Kate. “I’ve been in sales since I was teenager and both learning the right language to use and teaching folks to understand how important it is has been difficult for me.

Never let anyone tell you there aren’t different dialects in America. There are racial differences, geographic differences, class differences, age differences and where folks are in the customer journey differences. You can’t just blather along. You’ll never make a sale if you aren’t listening and using their words, viewpoints and meanings. You have to talk to them where they are now, in the moment.”

“Got an example?” Chris asked.

She asked him, “Did you ever go to Las Vegas?”

“Sure,” he replied. “It’s the gaming capital of the Universe.”

“And there’s your answer, plainer’n a cake donut with pink icing and sprinkles,” said Bubba.

Chris looked at him completely non-plussed.

“Think about what you just said,” continued Rob in his typical molasses patience voice. You said gaming. That word never was used in the old days as a reference to Vegas or Atlantic City before all the Indian Casinos and the ones on steamboats docked in Mississippi.

Back in the 1970’s Wall Street shifted from calling it the gambling industry to the gaming industry. By the 1990’s only politicians called it Gambling. For a time Las Vegas was promoted as a family vacation spot. Now it’s a little naughtier, you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Folks heard the new word and over time the industry was perceived differently.”

The donut demo
“Let me use that donut idea to demonstrate how this works for Chris,” I said. People go through a number of phases where we can change how they think about a company or product or service:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Intent
  4. Purchase
  5. Satisfaction
  6. Repeat

At every point on that spectrum you can provide content that will convince, persuade and keep them in your funnel even after they buy.”

Ramping it up
Rob jumped back in saying, “But y’all are mostly working on the front end of that process so you should know how to ramp up there first:

  • Awareness—Listen for the symptoms. Find out how it’s pushin’ on their business. Now, take it a step further and figure out the problem and help ‘em understand it in that larger context.
  • Consideration—This phase is when they’re bangin’ around looking for information Build strategic website pages or videos or blogs or other kinds of content that homes in on the clear ways you can solve specific kinds of prospect’s problems. The more directly it responds to their need the better.
  • Intent— is when they have come to the point where they intend to make a purchase. The information you provide at this point in their path to purchase should include examples of how others have profited from your product or service, that’s hard data, analytics that prove your point but most importantly. Make sure it fits with your earlier information. Include first hand suggestions, observations and comments.”

The Takeaways:

The customer journey or path to purchase doesn’t end when they plunk down the cash.

You have to prove that you know their concerns and interests.

The clincher is most often the small detail that you’ve observed from their questions, or observations they make. Always ask why they selected your product or service.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

How to Outsource Your Digital Marketing so That Dog Will Hunt

Tony asked me how to resolve a problem for one of his clients. He told me that the client, located here in the upper left corner of the USA was considering “outsourcing his marketing to an outfit in Texas.” He was concerned that there was “more wishful thinking than common sense in play.”

That dog will hunt“That depends,” said Rob who we’ve taken to calling Bubba, the branding Buddha. “If the folks that will work with him know his industry and can provide the right kind of content it could be a marriage made in heaven but just because they claim to be experts don’t make it so. My dog sleeps in the garage. That don’t make him a truck.

Kate snickered and said, “Well put Bubba. I run into this when I get asked to train young sales people. They don’t know what they don’t know and so they claim to know everything. Trouble is, in today’s world they may know quite a bit about digital approaches to customers and have all the lingo at the ready but they don’t completely understand how to connect and go from there to make a sale.”

Rick nodded and then quietly added, “Most of them have not won their spurs in direct marketing and that is all digital marketing is. They have confused knowledge of the medium with understanding messages that work. Their idea of an offer is how long it’s free.”

“That’s all well and good,” I said, “but how do I help Mike with his friend?”

Gail, our veteran writer answered, “Tell him to quit messing around with tactics and start with strategy. You remember that start-up software outfit you told us about? (Cardsmith) That’s an easy way to lay out a strategy and then the tactics for a year-long campaign.”

Chris agreed and added, “As the digital marketing guy in my company I put the plan together with my staff using white boards and sticky notes. It is the same idea but the nice thing about Cardsmith is that you can share it easily even if you’re in different places. The major thing you have to do, regardless of how you do your planning, is to start with an objective, then build a strategy to get you there and then detail all the tasks to make it happen.”

Rick said, “When you are planning,the ability to move things around is really handy as well as the ability to show how things are connected. But I will guarantee you that it is a lot easier staying on plan today in the digital world because you have all the analytics to really determine what is going on, BUT you still have to assign dates to get implementations done and you need to agree up front on what metrics will be considered key.”

“All that is wonderful,” said Gail, “but I keep thinking about Bubba’s dog. If the people you outsource to are experts in digital marketing that is one thing. Do they know how to convince your customers to buy? Do they understand how that channel of distribution deals with their customers? Have they ever gone along on sales calls?

Kate cheered. “Right on sister! She continued, “the worst situation is when you have inexperienced people in both the marketing and sales positions. Knowing their level of capability can make all the difference.”

I said, “I told Tony that his buddy should look into spending a little money up front with a Marketing strategist so that objectives, strategy and tactics could be structured with relevant time lines and metrics so that the money spent would be worthwhile.”

The Takeaways:

Start with a real objective (that management agrees with)

Assess the ability of the people that will do the work on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of your business as well as their digital marketing skills.

Base agreements on specific metrics and timeframes that are sales related (your objective is to make money, not impressions.)


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

The Power of a Personal Touch

As I put my laptop on the table and fired it up, Chris asked, “Should I go get some popcorn for movie time?”

Gail our resident good-mannered grammarian said, “You know, for a digital marketing type you know how video has become so pervasive, it seems to me that you might have a little more patience if not respect.”

Pesonal Touch VideoVIEW
“Easy,” I said. “I brought this along so all of you could comment on a video I edited this morning. It’s about trust. I’ve done a couple speeches recently and I was reviewing the video of them and thought it might be helpful to people to see how you can handle the same material with no technology or a full tilt animated Power Point. I just cut part of the two different appearances together.”

Rob, aka the Brand Buddha welcomed the opportunity to niggle me saying, “Minds me of the way gramps ‘splained the difference between a Yankee fairy tale and one from Dixie: Up north it starts out Once upon a time… Down home it’s you ain’t gonna believe this…”

Kate turned to him and said, “Even I couldn’t sell that notion without looking at the video. You know he’s been talkin’ about Trust on three continents for a lot of years. Besides, I think the presentation differences may be the point he’s making but first we have to watch.”

Bubba replied, “Crank that thing up Fletch and let’s have a look at A Personal Touch.

About 9 minutes later it was quiet at the table.

Then Kate said, “I love the pearl at the end. The video works. I kind of like the way it goes back and forth. The message comes through either way.”

Gail agreed. She pointed out, “If there were no live sequences the Power Point with voice over would tell the story but wouldn’t be as friendly or real or powerful.”

Chris said, “And that is the point. Video we keep being told is the most powerful way to get a point across no matter where someone is on the pathway to purchase. Yes it is powerful but the real power comes from giving it a personal touch.”

Fletch just smiled.

The Takeaways:

A personal touch is the shortcut to trust.

The more personal a video is the more powerful the message.

What you show is important. What you say is critical. But the most important thing is who trusts you.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Marketing and Sales All in One

30-Second Marketing for Consultants Part 3

Henry, a guest at the lunch time gathering, asked, “If you’re a one man band like most beginning consultants what is the difference between marketing and sales. Isn’t it all one?” The problem is the crossover from marketing to sales

“In a way it is,” said Kate. ”That was hard for me to understand early on when I was setting up my sales consultancy. When you’re out there on the front lines it’s not easy to see how marketing can do anything to help you.  Let’s face it, most sales people keep telling whoever is doing their marketing to just get them some qualified leads to close. When you’re the one doing the marketing and the selling it tends to give you a different viewpoint.”

The problem is the crossover.

“The problem is the crossover,” Henry said. “I don’t know when I’m selling and when I’m marketing.”

Our writer/editor Gail said, “The difference is pretty simple. Marketing is in mass. Sales is one on one.”

“Okay, I can see that,” said Henry, “but the words required seem to be different while they are the same.”

Gail asked, “What do you mean?”

“Everybody says that you need to talk about delivering a benefit. That’s the way to get them to come to you,” Henry replied.

Media, Message and Magnetism

I’d brought Henry to this meeting with the marketing lunch bunch so I figured I’d better wade in. “Henry,” I said, “don’t confuse trying to write copy for an ad versus a brochure or a web site with developing a sales pitch.

Media—If the information you are presenting is paid for by you it is marketing and needs to be treated as such. That is true whether it is an ad, brochure, website or skywriting. Yes, benefits should be stated.

MessageIf you are not meeting someone in person, it is marketing and needs copy that positions the product or service in words and pictures. You need to convince and/or persuade by using text and graphics that are easily understood by the suspect, prospect or client.

Magnetism—comes as you learn how to speak in the language of your suspect, prospect or ideal client. Speak to them in person. Listen. Hear and use their words to describe what you do. Listen as they tell you the problem they have and describe it in their terms. Pay close attention to what they say about how a solution to their problem would look, taste and feel to them.

Here’s an example of the difference:

Positioning Line: Clock Thermostat

Ad headline: Live warm, sleep cool and wake up saving money.

30-Second Marketing:

Hook: I help you save money while you’re sleeping

Hold: You know how some people set the thermostat back when they go to bed to save money but have to get up to a cold house in the morning?

Pitch:  What we do is hook the thermostat to a clock so you set it once and it automatically cools things down at night then automatically starts heating the house in the morning so it is warm when you get up.

Close: It’s available in a battery operated version with all the instructions you need to hook it up yourself in minutes.

Henry said, “Thanks. That helps.”

The Takeaway:

The concepts that convince for any product or service must be expressed in both print and conversation. Only conversation is interactive and can be modified on the fly.

The words that persuade can (and should) be pulled from the ideal client’s lexicon.

How and when they are used are dictated by whether you are marketing or selling.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Mission, Position and the Customer Journey

30-Second Marketing for Consultants Part 2

Chris said, “So 30-Second Marketing has four parts: Hook ’em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close ‘em.

Y’all can take that to the bank, youngster,” drawled Rob. “And when a Georgia Boy lays that on you it is certain true, no doubt.”

Pathway to purchase“The problem,” said Chris is I’m not really clear on how it is different from a Mission or a Position.”

“Foah starters it’s got more movin parts. It’s like the difference ‘tween flinging a beastie into the briar patch and roundin’ up the hounds to go huntin come sunset.”

Rick asked, “Fletch, since you originated 30-Second Marketing (See Part 1) would you please translate what the southern fried branding Buddha just scrambled?”

Mission versus Position versus 30-second Marketing

“Sure,” I replied. “A Mission is for all the folks that need to trust a firm, product or service. A Position is a way to quickly tell suspects, prospects, customers and clients why they should put you first. Usually those will be words in print and there is no opportunity for interaction.

30-Second marketing is about a conversation rather than one of those brief summaries intended to make you memorable in as few words as possible. It encourages interaction.”

Gail, the copywriter and editor in our midst, piped up, “30-Second Marketing is a conversation, not a commercial. You need to invest significantly more time and imagination in crafting your answers than you might think.”

The Path to Purchase (Customer Journey)

Rob’s honey-warm voice slid in. He said, “My friend Gail is tryin’ to sugar coat the fact that it will take a good bit o’ skull sweat to get it right. Moah importantly, you need to get to know your prospect real well. You need to know where he or she is on the Path to Purchase and what is important to ‘em at that point. Don’t matter if it is one person, a couple or a committee, you got to get inside their heads.”

Gail said, “I like that description Bubba. Usually it’s what people call the Customer Journey but Path to Purchase is a lot more direct way to put it. And from my experience I believe that would be easier for folks that aren’t communications pros to understand.”

“I agree,” I said. It took me quite a bit of time to explain the customer journey to some clients the other day. And even when they got it there was difficulty in getting to the level of detail that can influence buying decisions. Something as simple as knowing that a new company was formed by execs from the leading company in the field can make  huge difference. Sometimes, the simple revelation of how you access one of the features of a product can close the sale.

The Takeaways:

Mission and Position are print reminders to make you, your product or service memorable.

The Path to Purchase is the steps your customer/client goes through in order to make the decision to buy.

The more intimately you understand the Path to Purchase the more compelling you can be in every phase of the sale…including 30-Second Marketing.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

The Right Answer to the Most Common Question

30 Second Marketing Part 1

“It never fails. You walk into a place, say hello and within minutes you get the question,” I said. “It happens to every consultant, coach and professional, daily.”

Chris, our digital marketing director and the youngest member of the lunch bunch Singular most often asked questionblinked and asked, “What Question?”

Kate rolled her eyes, took a sip of iced tea and said, “It is THE Question. It is the simple request from someone to help identify you by the career path you are on. It is stock-in-trade for sales folks like me whenever we meet someone new.”

It is the single most asked question in the USA,” I said. “And most people trip all over themselves trying to answer it.”

Chris asked again, “So what is the question?”

Gail, our resident writer, put him out of his misery saying, “The question is: What do you do?”

Bubba, the branding Buddha, drawled with his usual southern charm, “Theahs just no way you can avoid it. Seems like folks kindly want to put you in a little box in their brain with a label stuck on it that fits their piddly memory.”

“You got that right,” I responded. “People always try to categorize new information and that means if you want to be remembered you need to do whatever you can to avoid what Bubba called, that piddly brain box.

An elevator speech is not the answer. That approach has come and gone.”

“But everybody says that you have to have an elevator speech if you’re going to be any good at networking,” said Chris.

“Everybody?” Asked Rick. “I don’t think so. The uninformed…maybe. The slow to understand the difference between how to market and how to sell…probably. Those that don’t understand the primary lessons of direct marketing, where I make a living…for sure. There are way too many people out there that just don’t get it.”

“A conversation instead of a commercial is the right answer,” Kate said. Most people will take interest in you and your profession if it is presented in an interesting way. But if you fall into the trap of describing yourself in common terms you lose. For instance, which would you rather talk to, a guy who says I’m a cpa” or one that tells you, “They call me Captain Crunch.’ That’s what Fletch calls a hook.”

Chris turned to me and asked, “What’s a hook?”

I told him, “A hook is the opening gambit of 30 Second Marketing which is a formula that helps you get to that conversation you want to have to make yourself memorable and give the person you’re chatting with ways to explain your difference to your ideal prospects.

The 30-Second Marketing formula:

Hook ‘em     (Get their interest)

Hold ‘em      (Tell them the problem you solve for most clients)

Pitch ‘em     (Tell them how you solve it)

Close ‘em    (Persuade them to take the next step)

The problem most consultants have is that they know way too much about their area of expertise so they have difficulty sorting out simple terms that people understand which relate to the reason they are looking for a consultant or professional to help them.

For example:

I’m a mechanic                  versus          I make cars go

I’m an IT expert                 versus          I make computers do it your way

I’m a website developer     versus          I build web sites that make rain

The Takeaways:

Make your answer memorable by simplifying it and putting the parts of the formula in language just about everyone can understand.

Test it. Try it on people you don’t know including prospects and pay attention to what they say and do. Then revise based on remarks, reactions and responses.  

Avoid lip service—the kind of responses that friends and family give you that aren’t realistic but rather are intended to make you feel good.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

Consultant Trust Floats

“Any of y’all have somebody contact you several years after you pitched ‘em and they turned you down?” asked Bubba, Georgia’s answer to branding’s high court.
Trust floats on the stream of time

Rob, even though we call him Bubba is sharp. When he asks a question like that in this group you know there’s something he is really curious about.

As the rest of our crew settled in I responded, “Why do you ask?”

It takes time to get to trust.

“I had lunch the other day with someone I knew had worked with other marketing and sales consultants.” Said Rob with only a hint of drawl. “I listened when he told me why he wanted to talk to me now after this many years. I pointed out that he had hired someone after we last talked and that fellow had exited stage left a few months later and that I knew at least two other consultants that he was familiar with that could and had given him good advice.”

Kate, took a sip of water and said, “So you asked him why me?”

“Precisely, Madam Sales,” said Rob. “George’s ansuh threw me. He started back when we’d met before.”

George, the prospect said, “Back then I couldn’t see any reason to have a branding consultant. I figured that a marketing consultant would handle that as part of his or her job. I assumed that branding was sort of an automatic thing…get the right logo and tag line and you’re done! I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

Our direct marketing expert Rick observed, “This George sounds like a really bright guy and one that leaves his ego at the door. Seems like he’d be a good client.”

Prospect knowledge in your area of expertise leads to trust.

Thas probably true said Bubba but what I learned by listening to his whole story is why I brought it up today. The more I thought about it the more I kept comin’ back to how Fletch is always goin’ on about Trust being the be all and end all ‘specially for consultants. It ‘minded me of that Yankee fella Thoreau who said that “Time is the stream that I go a fishing in’ The way George described how he came back ‘round to me is just the same. It was a matter of time and his knowledge about marketing and communications growing.”

George said, “I quickly found out that my perceptions about branding were way out of line. I figured out that branding was a real problem for us but I still kept going to general  consultants to help me solve the problem. It didn’t work. One wanted to make me the spokesperson/hero of the organization. Another couldn’t comprehend that even though each of our divisions had to stand on its own sales results it is still one company.”

Rick pointed out, “So your prospect moved from someone that didn’t know what he didn’t know to figuring out what his company’s problem was and then started bangin’ around trying to find the expertise he needed to solve the problem.”

“Right,” said Bubba.

So how did he come to pick you?” asked Kate.

Prospects need time to understand why they should trust you.

“It‘s that fishin’ thing. I just keep my bobber in the water waitin’ for a tug on it. Meanwhile down there just like a fish risin” to the bait George was slowly but surely headin’ back my way. He started asking some of the folks he had confidence in who he should talk to ‘bout his problem. A number of them mentioned me. And then he saw me doing a presentation that he said showed him I was an expert. So he called me.”

Kate said, “And now all you have to do is help him get to know and like you.”

“I musta done that,” said Rob. “He asked me for a proposal.”

The Marketing Takeaway

Getting clients is all about trust. To get them to come to you, you must:

  • Stay consistent

  • Establish your expertise

  • Assure that others refer you

  • Be willing to educate if they want to learn

  • Get to know them

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com