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Don’t Assume People Know What You Do

March 10, 2020

(Revised May 19, 2021)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Laughing guy thinks dog just pisses on fire hydrants business card shows dog runs home security company Savage K-9, LTDblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highHere’s a scary thought:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

People might have the wrong idea about what we do.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

And sadly, it might be our own fault.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Andrew Frazier poses this question:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

What’s the first thing you say when you tell someone about your business? Do you talk about yourself?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

If so, you won’t connect with your prospect.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Why?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

“Because most people listen to radio station WIFM.”
(WIFM = What’s In it For Me?)blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

How do you tune into that station?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Your prospects have a problem. And you know what that problem is because you’ve researched your target audience.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Connect with your prospect by communicating the problem first. Then explain your solution.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

For example:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

“I work with small business owners who are struggling to get clients.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Now you have the prospect’s attention. Now you can outline your solution using examples, case studies, and testimonials.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highAnother reason people tune us out or misunderstand us:
we use jargon, we use buzzwords. We try to make ourselves sound smart.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Result: confusion and resentment. People keep scrolling. They don’t ask for clarification because they’re afraid it will make them look stupid.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Chuck Hester of Truline Roofing makes an essential point: people will only buy from you if they trust you. And how you communicate with prospects is the key to gaining their trust.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

I own a roofing company. I’d see many of my sales people try to explain the intricacies and details of a roofing product and they’d lose the sale because they were talking way above the head of the client.

When they started asking more questions about what the client’s needs were, what they learned in most cases was that all the client cared about was that their roof would stop leaking and that we’d stand behind the warranty.

Quit trying to sell how great you are and focus on your client’s needs… make sure they understand beyond a shadow of doubt that you can be trusted.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highLen Williams of Design Strategies recommends using visuals to explain a product or service, and using simple terms.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

With declining literacy levels, it’s often difficult to get your message across, especially if it involves unfamiliar concepts. The use of illustrations, photos, and videos is key to showing people what you’re talking about.

If you have to use an uncommon or technical word, be certain to define it in simple language.

The surest way to put your audience to sleep is to give them words they don’t understand… Keep in mind that almost no one knows the terminology related to your business.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highMichael Wright of Taxwright thinks making things sound complicated is absolutely the worst mistake you can make when talking with a prospect.

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highMr. Wright provides tax advice to small businesses. He knows his clients may have to get involved in certain details. blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If they must participate, then they want to be shown how little they actually have to do and how much you can do as their guide.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

That’s a great insight. Clients are trusting us to solve their problems. If they have to get involved in the details, they want to know we’ll take the lead and make it as easy as possible for them.

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highQuick summary:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

1. Prospects don’t care about your title, they don’t care about your “process.” They care about getting their problem solved.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

2. When someone asks what you do, state the problem first, then talk about how you’ll solve it.

Maybe in my own case, something like this:

“You know how people just scroll past stuff on their phones and computers? I create images that get people to stop and investigate.”

(Which is a lot better than “I’m an illustrator. I help brands get noticed.” => it’s all about me)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

3. Don’t use jargon or technical terms. The prospect doesn’t speak your language and has no wish to learn it.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

4. You have to win people’s trust first. You do that by focusing on their problem and speaking their language.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

5. Words can only take you so far. Use images on your site (illustrations, photos, videos) to help people understand.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

6. Prospects are listening to radio station WIFM (“What’s
In it For Me?”)– don’t drive them away by changing the channel!!

blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *  blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, editorial, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Jenny Davis, Managing Editor, The Partner Channel

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2020 11:00 AM

    In your “What I do” page you forgot to add number 13. [and most important one] You make people happy! 🙂

    Like

    • March 11, 2020 7:50 AM

      And now I need to add #14, too: I cry with happiness when I see such beautiful comments!! 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭🌊🌊🌊🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🚣🐋💥🚑🐟🐠🐡🐙😊

      Thank you, dear outrageous Marina!!! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  2. March 17, 2020 2:30 PM

    Absolutely correct. A lot of my closest friends and family don’t know what I do. At least my partner does…I might occasionally vent to him about work. 🙂

    Like

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