Look at the answers. If you try to say everything, you’ll end up saying nothing. Reduce the messages to four to six provocative points about what makes the company different, better, or interesting.
Albuquerque, NM (Vocus) August 4, 2008
In a world in which Americans get 3,000 to 7,000 promotional messages a day, only the messages that are short, powerful and provocative – and repeated – have a chance of getting through. How you position your business can make the difference between sales success and another “no thanks,” according to sales and marketing consultant Lenann McGookey Gardner.
“Do you know your company’s most powerful, provocative messages? The Positioning Statement – four to six key messages – creates the foundation of marketing strategy, the first building blocks of successful sales. It lets people know, in a compelling way, what you do and how they can benefit from working with or buying from you,” says Gardner.
Gardner explains, “When I give a speech, I tell people who introduce me to say, ‘Lenann helps people figure out how to make more money.’ That’s the core of my company’s Positioning – short, powerful, provocative. I actually want people to challenge me and say, ‘How the heck do you do that?’”
Creating effective messages first requires some strategic thinking. Gardner suggests taking the following steps to craft a powerful Positioning Statement:
Focus on the people you are trying to reach.
Identify the people you are trying to reach. What are their job titles, and what sorts of people hold these jobs? What do those people typically believe, value, and worry about? Addressing those elements is key to crafting a powerful Positioning Statement.
“Don’t start the Positioning process by thinking, ‘Gee, what would make a great message? Instead, start thinking in detail about who you are trying to reach with the message,” says Gardner. “Knowing whom you want to reach and how they think about services or products like yours should always be the first step in developing your message.”
Know what your company can do for a prospect.
How does the prospect compare your company to the competition and what makes your company stand out? “Most people don’t know what their company’s most powerful, provocative messages even are,” says Gardner. “They say they do … but when I ask the entire management team of a company to write down the few messages they are trying to get their prospects to believe, I get as many different answers as there are people in the room!”
Pare down the words.
“Sit down with your company’s leadership team and ask them to write down The Main Message We Want Our Prospects to Believe About Us,” says Gardner. “Look at the answers. If you try to say everything, you’ll end up saying nothing. Reduce the messages to four to six provocative points about what makes the company different, better, or interesting.”
Deliver, repeat, deliver, repeat.
“These few messages in your Positioning Statement form the core of what goes on your website, in your collateral materials, your advertising, and your sales conversations when you’re with a prospect who refuses to talk about herself and instead demands, ‘Why should I be interested in your company?’” says Gardner. “If a prospect is forthcoming, talking about the pain they have in areas where your service or product relieves pain, abandon your Positioning Statement and talk, instead, about their pain and how you may be able to help.”
Lenann McGookey Gardner, a Harvard MBA and a past #1 worldwide sales rep at Xerox, offers keynote speeches on state-of-the-art selling and closing skills and executive and sales coaching for business success. Her book Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today’s Proven Methods for Selling Services is the one guidebook highlighting all the latest research and data on what’s working now in contemporary selling. More information is available at YouCanSell.com.