Enhance your Marketing & Sales Message for a Competitive Advantage
June 11th, 2012
Good morning class… Here’s an exercise that will help you more effectively communicate with prospective clients and why they should do business with your firm.
When we write (email or proposal) or deliver presentations, we’re all pretty good at espousing what we do – call it the features of our firm. For example:
- “We are a full-service shop.”
- “We have a large team of experienced analysts on staff.”
- “We are qualitative research specialists.”
- “We have 20 years of experience in the automotive industry.”
- “We do product testing, market segmentation, focus group moderating, blah, blah, blah…”
Guess what? The people you’re telling this to already know it. They’ve been to your website and downloaded your collateral. And besides… it’s essentially the same thing other firms are telling them, too.
So the first step in our exercise (and this is not that easy) is to start thinking and communicating in terms of benefits, not just features. That is, what your prospective client will gain from a feature. On your paper, put the features of your firm in one column and in a second column, write in the benefits.
For example, let’s look at a few of the statements above, this time with a simple benefit phrase added on:
- “We are a full-service shop… which means we can handle all of your research needs.”
- “We have a large team of experienced analysts on staff… which means we provide very fast turnaround.”
- “We are qualitative research specialists… we have hands-on experience with more than 10 different qualitative methodologies.
- “We have 20 years of experience in the automotive industry… we walk the walk and talk the talk.”
Make sense? Communicating with benefits is a good start… but to really make an impact, add on one more component – the advantage (this is even harder than the last part). So if the benefit is defined as “what they gain”… the advantage is defined as “why they should care.”
So on your sheet, class, add a third column and write in the advantages of each. For example:
- “We are a full-service shop… which means we can handle all of your research needs. The advantage for you is one project director, one number to call and one invoice for the entire project!
- “We have a large team of experienced analysts on staff… which means we provide very fast turnaround. So, even on high-priority, fast-track projects, we will meet or exceed your deadline every time… guaranteed.”
- “We are qualitative research specialists… we have hands-on experience with more than 10 different qualitative methodologies. That means we can recommend and deliver the absolute best qual method for your project and not pigeon-hole you into a limited choice.
- “We have 20 years of experience in the automotive industry… we walk the walk and talk the talk. And because of that, we can hit the ground running on your project – there’s no time wasted getting us up to speed.”
Class, your homework is to look through all of your marketing communications materials and begin applying the feature – benefit – advantage strategy to them. If you do that, you’ll have a competitive advantage over most other firms who simply don’t understand the value of a better marketing & sales message.