Most Compelling Selling Message

The most compelling selling message – what sells.  The most compelling is not that you have something wonderful to sell, it is that I understand what you need.  The message that you understand is about the only person that matters – the buyer.  Find out what they want, find out what they need, find out who they are – it can take extra time but it can make all the difference, and it almost always makes the sale.  Don’t sell your service, sell your prospect.  Talk about him not about yourself.  You can use the method of FORM.  Talk about:

  • Family – You have family? Brothers? Sisters? A Son?  Oh wow, that’s great, how old?
  • Occupation – What do you do?  How do you like it?  Why?
  • Recreation – What do you do when you’re not working?  What do you do for fun?
  • Money – What do you do?  How’s the pay in (area)?  What if you switched jobs?

More and better marketing is not the answer to every business question.  To succeed you must get all your ducks in a row.  Take a tree service for example.  The bad tree service is the one that comes over late, destroys your property when they’re cutting down trees, leaves a mess when they’re done, and overcharges you on the way out.  Would anyone want to come back to them?  Of course not.  You need quality marketing and a solid service offering to match it.  You need a talented tree surgeon or “tree guy” who’s honest, can get the job done correctly and safely, and charges a reasonable fee for work performed.  Tom at is a perfect example of this.  After perfecting his craft for more than 20 years, you can be sure he knows what he’s doing and he markets himself and his service correctly.  Marketing is one big duck.  We hear so much about service quality but much of service quality is simply invisible to the client.  For marketing purposes, a service is only what prospects and clients perceive it to be.  Get better reality and improve your service quality.  Never forget that the prospect and client must perceive the quality.  Services are human and their successes depend on the relationships between people.  People are humans – frustrating, unpredictable, often irrational, temperamental  and occasionally half mad.  The more you can see the patterns and better understand people the more you will succeed.


Market Positioning

The fear of positioning.  A narrow focus creates opportunities.  To broaden your appeal, narrow your position.  Halo effects.  People in services fear positioning because standing for one thing will limit their appeal.  But it doesn’t work that way as people associate one positive thing with many other good things.  Say one positive thing and you will become associated with many.  No two services are the same.  History shows that everything can be made different and human beings are different.  Prospects perceive services as different.  Identify, communicate and create new ones which are essential to marketing.  If you can’t see the difference in your service, look harder.


Position yourself as the market leader.  You can focus your message and your effort which can influence your position, but your position is your place and your prospects put you there.  You can take your position and turn it to your benefit.  Leverage the position you have.  A statement of position is how you are perceived in the minds of prospects.  It is your position which states how you wish to be perceived and the core message you want to deliver of the perception of your service.  Establish your position statement by answering: who – who are you, what – what business are you in, for whom, what people do you service, what need – what are the special needs of the people you serve, against whom – with whom are you competing, what’s different – what makes you different from those competitors and what’s the benefit – what unique benefit does a client derive from your service.  Ask yourself these questions and have good clear answers.


How to narrow the gap between your position and your positioning statement.  The wider the gap between your position and statement, the harder you must push.  The anchoring principle warns you that most people get anchored to your initial positioning and will not accept the new position if it is too wide.  Jump from one lily pad to the next as customers won’t make the leap.  Keep your steps small.  Define your long-term goals and make sure they are goals and not positioning statements.  If you do not have a focus, you may not have a business.


Focus and the Clinton campaign.  Clinton’s campaign turned around when he mentioned the economy and repeatedly spoke to the public.  Despite his behavior and mistrust at one point, he turned his campaign around.  He focused and focus wins.


Avoid the deadly middle.  A high priced provider is assumed to provide the best service.  If you price in the middle, you are saying you are not the best, you are good but just average.  Beware of the deadly middle.  People can always find a cheaper way to get your service.  In many services, the product of the service has become a commodity, but talent and thought is worth a lot.  Value is not a position and is what every service promises and is fundamental to survival.  Value is a given.


If you need a name for your service start with your own.  Many fortune 500 companies pay big money for a name.  It provides a first impression and first impressions count.  In service marketing, nothing beats a brand.  A brand is a warranty and a promise that the service carrying that brand will live up to its name and perform.  The brand is the closest thing to a guarantee because many services are hard to warrant.  A service is a promise and building a brand builds your promise.  The most desireable services are those who keep their promises, the integrity of the company and its employees.  A service can fail if it doesn’t keep its promises.  Invest in and preach integrity – the heart of your brand.  Word of mouth spreads to potential prospects.  Make selling easier, faster and cheaper by building a brand and never underestimate the value of your brand or the difficulty in creating a new one.  A brand is money.


Communicating and selling.  Services are intangible and communications make services more tangible and give prospects something to evaluate.  We trust brands but are far less trusting about most services.  Make the service visible and the prospect comfortable.  Your greatest competitor is not your competition it is indifference.  Say one thing and have the strongest message.  Meet your market’s very first need, give it one good reason and after you say one thing repeat it again.  Build your case.  Saying you offer great service will never work.  You must document it and communicate it.


Being great versus being good.  Prospects do not buy how good you are at what you do, they buy how good you are at who you are.  Superiority is not a prerequisite.  Most of us don’t utilize someone who is the very best, we look for someone who is good.  Convey you are positively good.  People judge your service by what they see.  What do your visibles say about what the invisible thing you are trying to sell.  Watch what you show.  Make the invisible visible.  Potential buyers are hesitant to consider things they cannot see so they emphasize what they can see.  As a result, visual symbols of a service become important.  People will visualize their business with the person behind it.  Prospects look for a visual clue about a service.  Provide clues so people see who you are.


Service marketers must create visual surroundings that will enhance the client’s perspective of quality.  It sends a powerful clue about your service.  This influence goes to the very heart of your product and the relationship with your client.  Watch and perfect the visual clues you send.  One word can define your service or product.  Words can be the ultimate weapons and shape reality.  Sometimes it’s all in how you say it.  The vividness effect.  Prospects put great value in recent information in making their buying decisions and are also influenced by vivid information.   Find many ways to be vivid.  Make yourself vivid as you cannot bore someone into buying your product.  Advertising is publicity so advertise.  Focus on buying, not selling.  Good marketing must focus on the buying.  Make your service easy to buy.

Selling the Invisible: Risky Business

Selling the Invisible:  Risky Business

Risky business.  Many businesses minimize the risk of a bad experience.  Build quality into your service and take the risk out.  You have nothing to fear but your client’s fear itself.  The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate the fear.  Offer a trial period or a test project.  Business is in the details and people feel the need to justify the decisions to themselves and look for differences to base their opinions.  The more alike two services are the more important each difference becomes.  Prospects look for signals in seemingly trivial differences.  Accentuate the trivial.

The more you say the less people hear – positioning and focus, fanatical focus.  Successful marketing starts with positioning.  It says you must position yourself in your prospect’s mind.  Your position should be singular with one simple message.  Your position must set you apart from your competitors.  You must sacrifice, you can’t be all things to all people and you should focus on one thing – a fanatical focus on doing one thing well.  Stand for one distinctive thing and it will give you a competitive advantage.

Selling the Invisible: The Fallacy of Expertise

The fallacy of expertise.  Before looking for expert insight for planning ask what is an expert.  The value of an expert is dubious and every experience is unique.  Don’t look to experts for all your answers, there are no answers only informed opinions.  The fallacy of authority – question authority.  The fallacy of common sense – unfortunately, common sense is not that common.  Common sense will only get you so far as you will need inspiration.  The fallacy of fate – there are fatalistic groups, fatalistic people and companies.  Some people cannot picture success and are terrified of disappointment.  You have to believe.

Yeah, but I like it – why do people buy what they do.  Providers of many services are prone to this notion.  Appeal only to a prospect’s reason and you may have no appeal at all.  Most prospects decide by choosing the familiar.  People choose the most familiar and choose the one they hear the most about.  The evidence suggests it is better to be known badly than not to be known at all.  This is due to a human trait called attribute forgetting.  You hear something negative about a company but as time passes you tend to forget the negative information and forget all the attributes and remember only the company name.  Then which company do you have a better opinion of, you choose the company you are familiar with even though everything you had heard about that company was negative.  Familiarity wields that much power.  Familiarity breeds business so you need to make yourself familiar to your prospects, you need to get out there.  Spread your word however you can.  Use the most recent data to help prospects decide and follow up.  Prospects decide by choosing good enough.  People don’t look to make a superior choice and are looking for good enough.  Ask yourself what risks might a prospect see in hiring you.  Make yourself an excellent choice and eliminate anything that will make you a bad choice.

The anchoring principle.  People with little time are more apt to make first impressions as snap judgments and then base their later decisions on them.  The smart marketer must be aware of this strong tendency.  First impressions have never been more critical.  They take hold quickly and become the anchors to which you and your success are tied.  Identify and polish your anchors.

Selling the Invisible: Perfection & Failure

Fallacy – perfection is perfection.  You can easily get stalled in the shift from strategy to tactics because you are paralyzed by desire for excellence.  The planning process tends to attract perfectionists.  But perfectionists have the fear that executing the plan may not be perfect so rather than take the risk they do nothing and wait.  Too often the path for perfection leads to procrastination.  Don’t let the perfect ruin good.

Fallacy – failure is failure.  Few phobias are more widespread than the fear of failure.  There is little point in killing an idea by saying it might fail – any idea might fail.  If you are doing anything worthwhile at all you will experience many failures so start failing so you can start succeeding.

Selling the Invisible: Fallacy of Memory

The fallacy of memory.  We remember badly and see things that were not there.  In planning, be aware of what you think you remember.  The fallacy of experience – they say people learn from experience.  We want to establish some general principles.  Usually the memory is far less than what you thought.  Have a distrust of what experience has taught you.  The fallacy of confidence – sacred truths in every company starts as someone with a mere opinion, but many are false.  The sobering fact is we are wrong far more often than we know.  Remember maybe others are right and you are wrong.  Beware of the overconfidence bias.

Selling the Invisible: Fallacies of Time, Brains, Focus Groups

Fallacy – there will be a perfect time.  He who hesitates is lost.  Today’s good idea will almost always beat tomorrow’s better one.  Do it now.  Fallacy – patience is a virtue, the shark rule.  Organizations are actually subject to the law that governs sharks.  If a shark doesn’t move, it cannot breath and it dies.  Moving organizations tend to keep moving, while dormant organizations tend to run out of air and die.  To worsen this problem, not moving encourages even more waiting.  The delay of not moving can cause action oriented people to flee the company making it even more awaiting oriented and often too late to correct them.   Act like a shark and keep moving.

Fallacy – think smart.  As we learn everyday, highly intelligent people can squash good ideas because they have one use for their intelligence – telling others why their ideas won’t work.  They forget good ideas sound bad at first, but think dumb.  Nothing said in the business meeting can beat what the research shows, but the ora of science has the ability to fool people.  Mistrust facts and don’t approach planning as a precise science.  Planning is an imprecise art.

The fallacy of focus groups.  Brainstorming between teams can bring new ideas.  They might, but some innovations don’t benefit from focus groups.  Maybe focus groups can brainstorm for you but don’t bet on it.  Beware of focus groups as they focus only on today and planning is about tomorrow.