Q: We offer multiple services, including hold messages and Web design. In our marketing materials and sales pitches, should we promote all of our services or focus on one?

Amir Watynski
Watt Media
Coral Springs, Florida

A: Research shows that most human brains can hold only a few thoughts at a time. Assuming you are targeting humans, it's best to edit.

The kitchen-sink approach confuses potential clients, says Vaden Landers, CEO of ProfitPoint, based in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania. He learned that lesson when ProfitPoint first branched out from gift-card and customer-loyalty programs into services such as credit card processing and merchant cash advances. "We'd throw everything at them," says Landers. "Fifteen or 20 minutes later, people would forget why they called in the first place." A narrower pitch scored more hits.

Once clients have made the acquaintance of one or two offerings, just keep on making introductions. And stay in touch with those customers who don't want the whole enchilada at once. ProfitPoint stays visible by sending gift-card customers biweekly e-mail newsletters with tips on using its services and occasional discounts. Those e-mails have attracted clients to newer services, which now generate 30 percent of gross profits. "Once you've established a rapport, it is much easier to go back to those clients," Landers says.

One way to make things clearer for customers is to explain how all your products work together. LEVEL5, based in Atlanta, offers construction, marketing, real estate, design, and consulting services for financial institutions. Chairman J.F. Kassler emphasizes how the sum of those parts is a greater whole for expanding clients. Once LEVEL5 has supervised construction of a bank's new branch, for example, it can help attract customers to keep that branch hopping. "We weave the services together as we uncover their needs," says Kassler. (At this point you may be tempted to use the word synergy. We urge you to show restraint.)