Vulcan (Star Trek) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recently I was making a “cool” call to a prospect. It was not quite a “cold” call, since I had already sent my book, along with a letter, and spoken to his gatekeeper a few times.
When he finally answered my call, he did seem to remember my correspondence. And at some point I went into the “here’s why we are different and what we might do to help” part of my message. (I do not have a prepackaged one size fits most approach. I don’t use a checklist of facts I want to make certain to mention. I don’t have an “If they object to this, then you say this” chart. Perhaps I should, but I don’t. I am more comfortable being free form, reacting as well as guiding the conversation.)
But, as a Trekkie might put it, I had a Vulcan mind meld moment. I knew exactly what he was thinking, and I was thinking it too. Which was that even though my “pitch” seemed distinctive to me, pointing out my agency’s differences in terms of clients we served, ideas we have created and accounts we have worked on, we both realized he had heard it, or a slight variation, many times before. Everyone who called to sell him something knew exactly what message to give.
OK, certainly not the exact language or identical facts, but close enough. That’s when I realized that if you’ve run your business for more than ten minutes, you learn what your prospect wants to hear and what you should be saying. Just as in a networking event, where, for the most part, every IT guy says pretty much what the last IT guy you spoke to had said, each knowing what you want to hear and what they should promise.
Being different is necessary, but often not sufficient. And it’s a fine line between being perceived as really different and being considered a nut job.
That’s why it is so important to craft your message so that it quickly, clearly—but uniquely—tells your special tale. I learned a lot from my phone call, realizing I did not give one single, compelling reason for him to meet with us. Instead, I gave a list of what I thought were persuasive points. But, as in a print ad, commercial, or any marketing communication, too much info became a wall of “blah, blah, blah.”
So, do not do what I did. But you should do what I intend to do in the future.
Got the idea?