I recently met someone who wanted to rent an apartment and as I was talking to him, I asked where he worked and more about the nature of his job. He said that he works for a technology company, I didn’t recognize the name, and he said that they worked on hosting, cloud storage and security.
Then I asked him how long he had been there and found out he had been there for eight months. At the end of this exchange I was left with the feeling that he didn’t seem to understand what his company does; either he’s not been paying attention all this time while he’s been there or his employer hasn’t done a good job communicating to him what their company is about. Either way, when given a chance to talk about this, he stumbled and didn’t articulate their message very well. This is all too common. It reminded me that very often companies under-utilize their employees as brand ambassadors.
Many people think of marketing as something that is the purview of the marketing department without realizing that every interaction between an employee and an outsider can be a soft sales-pitch!
Finding the connection:
Usually when I ask someone what he or she does or what their company does, the standard response is them quoting the official tag line or giving a brief bio. Their answer is a focus on themselves or their company without making the effort to translate what that may mean to me as the listener or potential prospect. An example would be someone from a marketing agency and the person may mostly use jargon such as “Data Driven Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Digital Media” and not make the effort to bridge this to my interests.
Ideally what I’d want to hear is that we help drive more qualified customers to your business through multiple media channels. Such an answer is about me, how it benefits me and the person didn’t leave it up to me to figure out how this matters to me and why I should care. Finding the points of connection and offering the right information is a great way to reel-in potential clients.
This is a common mistake that many companies are prone to make. Do not let your customers do their own translating of what your business means to them, they have enough to think about! And by letting them do the figuring out, you may not like what they come up with. The reality is that many things gets lost in translation or can be misinterpreted.
If you want to be on message then you have to be literal about it. “I do this for you so that you can reach XXXX” – is a good way to spell out the benefits and if you do, you have a fighting chance of winning their business and to top it off being memorable.
Keeping it simple:
When you are speaking to people who are your conduit, such as marketing manager for a new tool set that will help them optimize their content marketing, you have to make the message simple enough for that person to pitch it to their boss.
If the marketing manager has to translate what you just said, pitch it to the boss, there are degrees of potential misinterpretation. The same holds for the message in your website. If someone is to get an idea of your services from your website, make it easy to process.
Fancy description which can get over-hyped in selling the idea to a higher-up may lead to inflated expectations. If you messaging is not succinct, if your website messaging is not clear, you probably just lost a sale.
I see many agencies, platform and tool companies that their websites look cool with pretty stock images and one liner tag lines; but I can’t figure out what they do in 8 seconds and that means I am moving on. Even at trade shows, I see these fancy booths with tag lines that don’t tell me what they do, I just keep walking until I find a booth that has enough information that I can ask them to explain “further” what they do. But I digress.
Here’s the thing: You’ve lost my attention. Don’t let me move on, capture my interest, pique my curiosity enough for me to pick up the phone to ask for more info, to ask for a demo or even to use the online question form to reach a salesperson. If I’m intrigued enough to reach out to you, it’s likely I am no longer a cold lead but a warm prospect that is most likely to have a shorter sale cycle. And as we all say, “cheers to shorter sales cycles.”
So take the time to makes sure your employees are armed with what to say, and have a complete understanding on what your company does. If they understand how they can impact your customer, they are more likely to understand and appreciate their contribution. This makes them effective marketers who are proud to speak of their role and your company.
Written by: Shirley Tan