By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing
"What do you do?" is one of the most common questions someone can ask you.
And if you're in business for yourself, you want to say something that grabs the attention and interest of the person you are speaking to.
Almost everyone fails at this.
It's not just the words you say. Ultimately, it's about the clarity of what business you are in.
We think we're in the coaching business, the consulting business, the financial business, the training business.
But these are just categories of businesses.
And talking about the category of business you're in, as I'm sure you've discovered, doesn't generate a lot of attention or interest.
We also think we're in the business of delivering professional services. We provide one-to-one coaching, offer business plans and assessments or conduct programs, classes and workshops.
Everyone else in your business category, however, offers similar services that are delivered in very similar ways.
We also think of ourselves as unique or special in some way. We use a particular model or methodology, a proprietary assessment, a process nobody else uses.
More often than not, though, describing the methodologies and processes you use doesn't grab the kind of attention and interest you seek.
All of these approaches at getting attention and interest are crucial aspects of your marketing. Certainly they help you have clarity about what you are actually offering your clients, but they all miss the most important element.
What is that element and how do you address it in your marketing?
The business you want to be in is the results and outcomes business. You need to clearly communicate the specific results you can confidently produce for your clients.
This is the one thing that genuinely wins the attention and interest of your prospective clients. Nothing else comes close.
Unfortunately, it's often kinda tricky to communicate this.
I've struggled with it; my clients have struggled with it. Just about everybody struggles with it.
Communicating the results and outcomes you produce for clients may be challenging for a few reasons:
1. It may seem too obvious. Whatever business you're in, it seems to be an unspoken rule that you will produce results for your clients, so why even bring it up?
2. You don't realize that ordinary outcomes don't count. That's just the price of being in business. Extraordinary results are what count, what get prospects to notice you.
3. You're afraid to make specific guarantees or promises that you'll produce certain results or outcomes. You focus on possible failure instead of possible success.
4. You're afraid that if you make promises above the ordinary it will sound like hype and turn people off. You don't have the confidence that you can deliver these kind of outcomes.
5. You believe that results ultimately need to be demonstrated. That is, producing actual results is the only way to communicate the fact that you can produce results. That may be the most convincing way, but it's not the only way.
The thing is, if you don't find a way to clearly communicate that you stand for and deliver great outcomes, you'll miss one of the most powerful marketing tools in the world.
Here's an example:
One of my clients offers a coaching program for sales managers that helps their sales people sell more.
When he came to me he was about to relaunch his business after a period of semiretirement. He had worked with many clients in the past through in-person workshops and training.
Now he was "going virtual" and would work with his clients via Zoom Video.
I asked him what kind of results he had produced previously and he told me that a sales increase of 25% or more was the norm. So I asked him if he felt confident he could do that by coaching sales managers virtually.
He replied that he was very confident that he could produce the same kind of results by working with his clients for about a year.
But he was reluctant to talk about those results and really take a stand for these results. We looked at all the benefits of doing so and we came up with the following:
"In working with your company's sales manager for about a year I will increase your sales by 25% or better."
Now, in all his conversations with company owners, that's what he talks about. Of course, he also talks about how he's able to do that, any unique approaches he uses, and so on, but he puts his outcomes first in all his marketing communication.
And when he tells this to his prospects, they want to know more because an outcome like that is exactly what they're looking for.
This sounds simple, and it is, but it's not necessarily easy!
Here are the basic steps you need to take to make a promise about the outcomes and results you'll produce for your clients that are beyond the ordinary.
1. Determine what beyond-the-expected results you can consistently produce for your clients. You want to look at the average client you work with in your business.
2. Next, ask yourself how you need to structure your services to produce that result. If it takes a year, it takes a year. If you can do it in three months, then offer a three-month program, etc.
3. Make sure you are very solid in your methodology, processes and practices. You can't promise results if you don't have a proven pathway to get there.
4. Make a definite promise, but don't over-promise. Then work on over-delivering on that promise – whatever it takes.
5. Structure your promise in easy-to-understand words that your clients can easily relate to. Be ready to offer proof that you can produce these results (track record, testimonials, methodology, and so forth).
You are now in the outcomes and results business. All the work you do to get to that place will be more than worth it.