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So What? How to Talk About Your Business so People Really Listen!"

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So What? How to Talk About Your Business so People Really Listen!"

I was having a conversation with a marketing coach one day, and she asked me to tell her aboutmy coaching programs. I responded proudly, "I work with people to help them recognize the thoughts and beliefs that are holding them back, and replace them with the kind of thoughts and beliefs that propel them forward.” And she answered, "So what?” Ouch! That’s a little harsh, isn’t it? Well, maybe not.

The purpose of her response was not to be mean or obnoxious or dismissive. The purpose was to get me to think about the reasons why people would care about what I do. "What,” she asked me, "is the benefit of that?” When someone makes the decision to buy something, at that moment, it is always an emotional decision. People buy products and services because they eliminate a pain or make them feel happy or some other positive emotion. It is our job to elicit and highlight those emotions from our potential customers, so that they can see, feel and imagine the benefits they will enjoy when they purchase from us.

So what do we say when someone asks us what we do, or what our business does? Most of us are very good at talking about the features of our businesses, but are less well versed in highlighting the benefits. Some of us assume the benefits are obvious, but in reality, we need to spell them out. So, imagine that you sell all natural, botanical skin care products. If you describe your business this way, you would be talking about the features of your product. I would say, "so what? How does that benefit me?” But if you tell me that your all-natural, botanical skin care products will keep my skin looking so healthy and young that perfect strangers will comment on my healthy glow, and all while using a chemical free, healthy product, and then you tell me to imagine how great I’m going to feel when that happens, you’re painting a picture for me. Now, I am imagining how awesome I will feel when my skin looks so great that people are actually commenting on it. Of course, you want to make sure that what you’re saying is true.

The best way to find out about the benefits that your customers experience is to ask them, and then take the most common responses, and craft them into your narrative about your business. You can even use their individual responses and their stories to talk about your business. What I’m really getting at here is something called your "Value Proposition.” What value do you offer your customers? What is the transformation that they undergo from using your product or service? Do you decorate interiors, or do you transform houses into warm and inviting homes that people will want to gather in? If you know your value proposition, then you can separate yourself from the competition.

There is an acronym in marketing called "WIFFM.” It stands for "What’s In It For Me,” and a savvy marketer will always remember this. If you spend all of your time talking about yourself and your business, your prospective customers will lose interest. They don’t really care about how long you have been in business, or how hard you’ve worked, or how skilled you are. What they care about is how all of that is going to benefit them. They want to hear about how you are going to help them, how your solution is going to resolve their problem, eliminate their pain, or cause them great happiness, not about how great you are. Remember to always connect the dots for people. If your product has a great feature, try adding the words "so that” after it, and then state the benefit. The benefit is what will interest people in what you have to offer, and you cannot assume that someone will picture the benefit on their own.

So, if you have a business helping people optimize their websites for search engines (SEO), you might say, "I offer website SEO, so that your business gets found by people who are looking for exactly what you have to offer, and your sales go through the roof.” Are you wondering at this point what my "so what” or Value Proposition is? The next time someone asks me what I do, here is my reply: Do you know how some entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals are great at what they do, but they are frustrated, overwhelmed, or stuck in some area of their business, with no idea where to start or how to break out? I work together with them as their partner, so that they can get clear and focused, make a plan, and feel positive, confident and excited about moving forward with that plan. Just imagine, when we work together, my clients get a thinking partner and the kind of best friend who will listen and focus completely on them! (And please, don’t say "so what!”).


By Donna Leyens, Chatham Pod Leader

MBA,CPC, of True Potential Coaching LLC. www.truepotentialbizcoach.com, donna@truepotentialbizcoach.com, 973-493-2778

Tags:  unique selling proposition  value proposition 

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