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Does Your Message Have Substance?


Does Your Message Have Substance?Have you ever noticed that most marketers have great hair?  They wear nice clothes, drive flashy cars, and smell great.  That’s because most marketers are great at understanding that the way they look reflects their brand.  The problem is they tend to lack a key part: substance.  Their message tends to be all about them, when in reality it really should be about their prospects.

Imagine them getting all dolled up,  go out on a date and at the end,  all that their poor companion for the evening is able to tell their friends is “What a conceited, self-centered, egotistical person.  Not interested in anyone else but himself!.”  There won’t be a second date.  Well, the same holds true for your brand message.  When all you do is talk about your own company, your prospects will be turned off by your self-centeredness and won’t respond in return.  This is why more often than not, why your brand message does not convert into sales.

As Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer point out in their book “Conversations That Win The Complex Sale”, both sales and marketing teams need to stop the we phrasing and start you phrasing.  Too many salespeople are about the “we, we, we” when they present their value to their prospects.  We do this, we can do that, and we can solve this etc. etc. etc.  Instead, they need to try replacing every we with a you.  The customer needs to see themselves as the heroes/protagonist in the story.  They need to be engage in the dialogue and the use of "we" is confusing.  Your prospects are making the decision, they have to live with the consequences, they need to engage the presentation and see themselves doing something different and better as a result of what you say.

Your own ego wants to make you the hero.  However, in reality that is last thing you should be doing.  Think about it, what do The Matrix, Star Wars, and the Harry Potter series and the best sales messages all have in common?  They all follow the same story-telling model.  The model is a simple one.  It has five basic steps:

  1. The world is normal
  2. Something changes
  3. The hero pushes back
  4. Enter the mentor
  5. The hero saves the day

This same model is repeated in virtually every hero story.  Moreover, the takeaway for you is that there is a reason all these hero stories are told the same way:   It works.  But most companies make a big mistake:  they position their company as the hero.  Instead of assuming the role of hero, you need to be the mentor. You are there to help your customers see what has changed in their world and how they, by accepting your call, can adapt and better survive and thrive.  You need to turn your customers into heroes. 

So stop being so conceited, self-centered, and egotistical and start understanding that it’s not all about what you can do, but rather make it about your prospects.  The sooner you realize it’s not all about you, but rather about your prospects, the sooner you get to a higher level of engagement and problem ownership with your prospects.  And as the immortal Michael Jackson says, “no message could be any clearer.”


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Looking for ways for marketing to show ROI? This guide will help you build a lead generation engine that maps to your customers buying process and delivers maximum measurable ROI. Download our free The Executives' Guide to Building a Lead Generation Engine.

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