“Don’t Hide Your Light Under a Bushel”
I loved this book.  No, I didn’t read it.  I just read the cover!  It’s ‘over-the-top’.  But that’s why I’m writing about it and not something else.

My friend, THIS . . . is great copy!  “Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!).  Telling like it is (or, you hope it will be) is very, very attractive, isn’t it?

Skinny Bitch and The Elevator Pitch
Nice rhyme.  But I digress . . . My point of this post is that, like a book cover, your ‘introductory comments’ AKA elevator pitch need to rise above the hum-drum and capture the attention of people you’re talking with.  If it’s benign and ‘vanilla-esque’ then you’ll likely not be noticed and that, in business, can be verrrry deadly!

So ‘Go For It’ . . . take a chance . . . on change.  Tell the world WHO you are by sharing WHAT you do and FOR WHOM.  And when you think you’ve got it . . . throw in 20% more ‘edginess’ . . . just to be sure your words will work.

Tell it like it is . . . Go BIG or Go Home

I just saw a short video that reminds me of the importance of telling a ‘good’ story. It’s compelling.  It keeps your attention ALL the way through to the end (where the ‘point’ is made).

CLICK the above image to view the video.  It’s worthy of 60 seconds of your time.  Oh yes, it’s funny.  And if you think it’s not, you need a vacation — enjoy your July 4th holiday!

Storytelling is a ‘practical’ art but you can learn to do it — practice!!

When you want to connect with someone, you want to do it quickly and relevantly, fair?  Yes, but how? Duane Cashin, an outstanding public speaker and business consultant, gave a talk recently in which he revealed a wonderful structure for engaging quickly, easily and effectively with anyone: T.I.T.O.

T . . . Trends

Begin by offering to provide some ‘insights’ about recent ‘disturbing’ or ‘interesting’ trends that may affect the life or business of the person you’re speaking with — e.g. “Y’know, I read the Financial Times and there are 3 trends countries like Greece are revealing that American investors need to be aware of . . . ” (do you have their attention?)
I . . . Insights
Amplify the ‘data’ in the trends by filtering it with your own expertise.  Use this section to demonstrate you know your business — e.g. “What all these economic events are leading up to are 3 serious threats that can decimate your net worth if you don’t respond appropriately.  For example . . . ” (you think they’re gonna leave you now?”)
T . . . Threats
Present the consequential damages that failing to act appropriately may cause the unprepared or ill-advised person to suffer.  This should be a logical connection that arises from not using the insights you’ve provided based on the trends you’ve observed.
O . . . Options
By now, someone is ‘in pain’ and you can’t leave them that way.  So, offer a way out . . . of the pain they’re experienced now.  “What I find people are doing about these issues seem to fall into one of 4 kinds of response . . . ” (qualified prospects will identify themselves to you!)

Engaging prospective clients in a conversation is best done by design, not accident!

I have a great CLIENT EXPERIENCE that I must share with you.

This is Kelly Kerr.  Kelly works at The Rain Group — a marketing consulting firm outside of Boston, MA and the principals of that firm — John Doerr and Mike Schultz — should be so proud of her.

I needed help finding an article I wanted but couldn’t locate. I called The Rain Group to see if they could direct me to a source for it.  Kelly answered my call and said, “Let me see what I can find and I’ll get back to you”. Believe it or not, she did.  She really did!  Not only did Kelly track down the article (from my old friend, Ian Brodie in the UK no less!) but she called me back within the hour!  I was flabbergasted.  Delighted.  And definitely flabbergasted.

Thankfully, The Rain Group had the brains to hire this delightful young lady.  Then, they had the confidence to leave her in a ‘front line’ position (most of the staff was out of the office when I called).  They also empowered her to ‘do the right thing’ to keep the clients happy.  And I bet her parents and teachers had a lot to do with instilling in Kelly a sense of stewardship for her ‘guests’ happiness and well-being.

If you have any interest in great content and thought-leadership in the area of service practice marketing, I urge you to visit their website and become a member.  I just renewed my membership and it’s a better ROI than the money I put in the market these days.  If you’re so inclined, maybe you should just call The Rain Group at 508-405-0438 and speak with Kelly Kerr. You’ll be very impressed.  Just like I am.

Hire ‘natural stewards’, empower them to act ‘as if’ they’re the COO then get the heck out of their way!  Your clients will think you’re a genius!  Thank you Kelly Kerr –– you’re my inspiration of the day!

You’ve heard the expression, “Actions speak louder than words”.  It’s very true.  Especially in marketing.

Recently, we had a little problem in our home.  We called a company for a ‘service’ call.  What an oxymoron!  The technician didn’t know what he was doing, was unfamiliar with the type and brand of appliance and spent the better part of an hour reading our ‘owner’s manual’ before telling us that he couldn’t help us.  (But the $187 charge for a ‘house call’ still applied!)

The second company sent someone who knew immediately what was causing our problem.  Within an hour the problem was fixed and the appliance running like new.  They also gave us a ‘New Client Package’.  It outlined their ‘satisfaction guarantee’ and invited us to contact the company president if we had any questions, comments or concerns.

The next day the company called to make sure the work was done correctly and we were happy.  A few days later, we got a nice letter from the technician and the company president thanking us for our business and reminding us that if we ever have a problem with an appliance, that it would their honor and pleasure to be of further service.  My wife and I were BLOWN AWAY.  Who does this anymore?  (sharp business owners!!)

What Actions can you use to communicate your value proposition and position your firm in a better light than your alleged competitors?

Actions speak louder than words!

You’ve heard of “I Love NY”.  It’s a tagline.  Some argue a tagline should offer a benefit.  Many feel the new tagline for Buffalo, NY is more confusing than tantalizing.  I disagree.

One reason for a tagline is to stand out to people who see or hear it.  This recent offering has done that.

In a post on Advertising Age, an industry resource, this new logo / tagline combo has generated a LOT of response and activity.  Some love it.  Some hate it.

But here’s my point . . . No one is missing it!

I don’t believe that, “any PR is good . . . even if it’s bad PR”.  But if any message is going to ‘stand out’ to the audience you want to get it . . . it better be distinctive.  Buffalo’s new tagline definitely is.  It’s different.  It’s distinctive.  That . . . is why it works!

An outstanding Message . . . must, in fact, STAND OUT to be effective!

While you may differentiate yourself around the value you provide, you still have to communicate that value, don’t you?

Often I go to a meeting and find people who leave me totally confused about what it is they do for their clients.  They don’t seem to be able to communicate what their Position or Value Proposition really is.

We hear a lot about ‘elevator’ pitches — those short, pithy sound-bites designed to get the attention of someone who’s able to appreciate what we do . . . and if not today, then soon enough.  And you know what?  An Elevator pitch is a good thing to have!

But do yourself a favor . . . don’t forget to put some time and effort into creating yours.  And when you do, tweak it and polish it up until it shines brighter than anything anyone else might say at your next business gathering.  The results might just amaze you!

Find a way to communicate your VALUE in a MESSAGE that’s short and sweet