Subscribe to Inc. magazine
HOW TO SELL ANYTHING

2 Sentences That Engage Customers

To get customers interested in what you're selling, make your sales message about your customers.
Advertisement

You're excited about your company, right? You're proud of your products, right? Therefore, your best strategy, when talking to a customer, is to tell the story of your company and its products with excitement and enthusiasm, right?

Wrong.

Customers don't care about your company. They don't care about its products. And they certainly don't care about your personal feelings towards your company and its products.

What customers care about is... themselves.

The failure to realize this simple fact about human nature is why most companies have sales and marketing messages that make customers shrug.

Over the past few years, I have reviewed hundreds of sales messages. In almost every case, these messages are all about the seller and the products being sold. They leave it up the customer's imagination to figure out "what does all of this mean to ME?"

Which leads us to the two sentences that are the most important to your customers and prospective customers:

  1. "Our clients hire us to provide [benefit(s) to the client.]"
  2. "They hire us, rather than somebody else, because [something unique that the competition doesn't have but the customer values.]"

Notice that both of these sentences position you, the seller, as a catalyst that helps the customer achieve the customer's goals, and then positions your firm as only catalyst that can do the job right. Here are some examples:

Example 1:

Wrong:

"Acme specializes in consumer-validated 360 degree product development via our patented sequential market research process, which has been successfully applied to the fast moving consumer goods industry. In the past 24 months we have created $2.9 billion in innovative business opportunities for our clients.

Right:

"Consumer goods companies hire Acme to create new products for them, and market both those new products and their existing products. Because we base our efforts on meticulous research into target markets, we've generated over $2.9 billion in new revenue for our clients over the past two years."

Example 2:

Wrong:

"Several years ago, Acme saw a problem in the transportation industry: that the process of valuing and transferring ownership of transportation businesses is a very unstable and unpredictable process. And as a result, many hardworking owners were unable to cash out of their businesses when they wanted to. Basically they shut the doors. Acme is built to specifically address this industry problem--we help buyers and sellers alike start a new chapter in life.

Right:

"Entrepreneurs hire Acme to sell or acquire transportation businesses like limousines, buses, and ambulances. We can help them negotiate the best and most reasonable price because we have 20 years of experience with this type of business."

Can you see the difference? The original messages force the customer to figure out what it all means to the customer. The rewritten messages express what's being provided from the customer's viewpoint.

In other words, to engage customers in a conversation about the possibility of hiring you or firm, make the message about the CUSTOMER rather than about YOU.

Like this post? If so, sign up for the free Sales Source newsletter.

Last updated: Jun 3, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.




Register on Inc.com today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments
EMAIL
PASSWORD
EMAIL
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
PASSWORD

Or sign up using: