Last week I met a brilliant and driven solopreneur at a networking event. When I asked her to tell me about her business I could feel my eyes glazing over and my mind wandering to the buffet table without my body in tow. Now, I'm a great listener and I have a strong passion for business. Even so, my new acquaintance couldn't keep my attention.
As I pulled myself back to the present, I worked hard at taking in this business owner's concept. It was then that I realized the problem — she was making me work to "get it." She had a unique, and potentially profitable, twist on her area of expertise and proceeded to explain it to me in lengthy, highly technical mumbo jumbo. It was only the passion and excitement in her voice that kept me focused and piqued my curiosity.
I often have the same experience when I visit my prospects' websites. What do they do? And who do they do it for? Now, they think they're doing a great job of explaining their product or service because every industry-specific word they can think of is scattered throughout their pages. But you know what? If I'm going to hire you it's because YOU are the industry expert and I shouldn't have to learn your language to truly understand how you can help me.
Try these simple tips to begin with: Record your 60-second pitch so you can hear it yourself. Listen to it as a newbie to your industry. Also, create a 10 second pitch.
Read your marketing content from a fresh perspective. Take a look at your homepage. Count the words over 2-3 syllables and the ones that the average "Joe" wouldn't use in their everyday vocabulary. Is your content written above the 8th grade level? Did you know that the average reading level in the US is between 8th and 9th grade?
The genius behind great content is the ability to write in a way that the marketplace can understand it without having to work too hard. Information is being pushed to us all day long, it can be exhausting! Identify with your prospect. Let them know that you understand their problem and that you can help them fix it. People buy from an emotional place, connect to their emotion.
Try starting your verbal pitch with a question or a statement that will get the person's attention. The other day I asked a solopreneur if she ever felt like she owned a hobby, rather than a business. Did she ever wonder if she'd bring home a bigger paycheck by working at the coffee shop? She laughed and asked me how I knew? Then I simply told her that I knew because I have helped hundreds of people just like her to turn their businesses into money-making machines. Simple and short; that's all it took. I had just found a new client.
Whether you're writing or speaking, ask yourself a simple question. "Am I making them work too hard?" Catch the industry-specific words and use metaphors and analogies instead. Remember that the mind thinks in pictures. The better the picture you paint, the easier it is for your prospect to grasp what you can do for them. Today you are an artist; tomorrow you are more profitable!
Last updated: Mar 2, 2010
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka