Get Paid for Persistence

Is this scenario familiar? You’ve done your research, identified a strong prospect, and initiated contact. You’ve had a pleasant and promising conversation. Yet, though your initial interaction was positive, your follow-up email or call remains unanswered.

Why has your momentum with this highly-qualified, “you-need-what-I’m-selling” prospect stalled? What does it REALLY take to get through to a potential customer?

Know your prospect.

To show the benefit of your product or service, you must first understand the prospect’s needs. Tailor your approach accordingly. For example, if your potential customer has 200 employees, share that your product is specifically designed for organizations with a head count of 100 to 500 people. Identify, through research or conversation, problem areas your solution addresses. Statements like “our product helps companies reduce workers comp claims” or “our team are experts in security training for customers with staffs that travel overseas frequently” show that you not only know the challenge the buyer is facing, but that you will  deliver the solution to resolve it. Be specific when discussing the target audience for your service. Use qualifying language like “we specialize in assisting first-time home buyers” or “we have 20 years of experience working with pharmaceutical companies with drugs in Phase 1 clinical trials” or “our service is designed for first generation college graduates.” Adding this level of specificity will allow your potential customers to self-identify and help build confidence that you have the skills, expertise, and product or service they need to be successful.

Be persistent.

Persistence is defined as continuing firmly in a course of action despite difficulty or opposition. The best salespeople are those who, when faced with a challenge, continue to move forward. Persistence comes in many forms. In today’s culture, we are only as good as our data, so persistence means being committed to a systematic effort to keep your database updated with the most current contact information. Persistence is having the discipline to make one more call, to follow-up even when you are not receiving a response, or to expand your reach within an organization to target multiple key decision makers or influencers rather than a single person. Getting through to your prospect requires action to overcome obstacles and maximize your opportunity to make the sale.

Maintain a steady cadence.

Sales is a process, which requires multiple steps (or actions) to achieve desired result of revenue. . Advancing in this process takes consistent and intentional outreach and cultivation. Follow the four-step call/email process when making contact: 1) introduce yourself, 2) say something that will get the prospect’s attention, 3) state the reason you are calling, and 4) describe the benefit to them. If you were referred to this prospect by a mutual acquaintance, be sure to mention that person’s name. Make it clear to the prospect that you will “knock on their door” repeatedly until they say something- a yes, a no, not now, etc. . You want to give the impression that you are assertive enough to keep at it, friendly enough that they want to call you back, and confident enough to expect a response. Remember the Rule of 7 — someone must hear a message seven times before they act — and be politely persistent.

REALLY getting through to a prospect requires persistence, a commitment to the process, and knowledge of their needs. When you put these into action, you will see a significant increase in number of calls and emails that get returned!

 

How to Uncover Your Prospect’s Budget

MONEY.

What, exactly, is it that makes many people uncomfortable talking about money? After all, it’s said that “money makes the world go ‘round.” Yet even given its pervasiveness, discussing finances can be emotionally charged or seen as taboo.

Social conditioning plays a large role in the reluctance to have conversations about money. In her 1922 book of etiquette, manners guru Emily Post wrote, “A very well-bred man intensely dislikes the mention of money, and never speaks of it (out of business hours) if he can avoid it.” For many, this attitude still exists today.

The unwillingness to talk about money carries over into the business environment, making financial discussions awkward, especially in a buy-sell relationship. However, understanding your prospect’s financial capabilities, limitations, and expectations is critical to the sales cycle. Therefore, it is important to “talk money” early and often. Delaying this important conversation will drag out the sales process and, ultimately, increase the cost of the sale as more time is invested.

How do you go about uncovering your prospect’s budget?

Let’s start with the obvious: you could come right out and ask, “What is your budget?” But in doing so, unless you’ve already established a high degree of trust, you are likely to encounter one of the following obstacles:

Your prospect may not know the budget. Often, when considering a new product or service, part of the buying process is determining what one should expect to pay for it.

Your prospect has a budget in mind but withholds the information because they fear your proposal will be designed to consume the full amount.

In this age of social media and access to information (whether valid or not) through the Internet, potential customers may form negative opinions about a company or individual before ever having a direct interaction with them. This inherent distrust can add to a prospect’s hesitancy to have a conversation about money with you. The options below will help you get the budget information you need while building trust with your prospect:

Provide a benchmark from which to begin the conversation. You might state, “On average, our customers invest between $75,000 to $100,000 on these types of solutions. Is this range consistent with what you were expecting to pay?” If the prospect’s budget matches the range, it makes sense to continue in the sales process. If they experience sticker shock, you can still add value by providing alternative solutions or vendors.

Help the prospect understand costs. Ask, “Do you know your budget, or do you need help to understanding the cost range of these types of solutions?” By offering to provide assistance, you are fostering a relationship with the prospect.

Ask the question in a different way. For example, open-ended questions like “What did you have in mind regarding your spending expectation for this type of solution?” or “What was your team thinking about in terms of budget for this?” allow room for the prospect to respond without making a commitment to a budget. You can then use this information as a jumping-off point for a more in-depth conversation.

Find out where they stand. Asking “Has your budget been set for this service?” will provide you with the response you need to assess how close the prospect is to making an investment. If the answer is “no,” you can offer help in defining the budget. If the response is “yes,” using the benchmarking approach above will move you closer to understanding the prospect’s financial situation.

Once you’ve determined an initial budget, continue to build trust as the sales process progresses. This is the often part of early and often!

Prior to delivering a proposal, re-visit the money conversation. Set expectations and reaffirm your understanding of the prospect’s financial capacity with a statement like “You told me your budget was $20,000 to $25,000. It looks like our proposal will fall right in the middle of that range.”

When re-engaging a prospect, validate the budget. An easy way to do this is to ask, “Has anything changed since we last talked?” If so, you can adjust accordingly.

Financial conversations may not be easy for everyone, but a good salesperson knows how to make others feel comfortable and confident talking about money. Approached correctly, even Miss Emily Post would approve!

Trade Shows: More than just a fancy booth

You have a pull-up banner, logoed apparel, and snazzy promotional products. Business cards and brochures are printed, and your booth backdrop is packed and ready to be shipped to the convention center. You’re all set for the trade show, right? Not quite yet! None of these items will guarantee a successful outcome — customers! — without careful planning.

Let’s start from the beginning: should you even attend this trade show? As a rule, if your competitors will be there you should be, too. Failure to appear can send the wrong message, implying that your company is experiencing financial constraints or is no longer interested in the attendee base as customers. Before committing, however, make sure the show is in line with your company’s priorities and business development plan.

The cost of booth space, a hotel stay, flights, and out-of-town meals can add up quickly. If you are spending your company’s money on a trade show, follow these tips to ensure you are maximizing the return on investment.

Establish a pre-show plan.
Make a plan to leverage events and the time spent at the show — during display hours or not — to optimize attendees’ engagement with your company.

  • Pursue opportunities to be a keynote or breakout session speaker at the show, which will raise your company’s profile and highlight your subject matter expertise.
  • If possible, gain access to the attendee list. Reach out to show attendees in advance, with a specific call-to-action aimed at increasing awareness of your presence. Invite prospects to your booth, where you will have a special offer just for them.
  • Arrange dinner with a high-potential target.
  • Host an invitation-only reception.

Prepare for after the show.
With a good pre-show plan in place, you can expect to return to the office with a solid list of prospects. Advance preparation will greatly expedite follow through after the show, giving you a leg-up on competitors.

  • Before attending the show, define your overall trade show sales process, key qualification questions, and follow-up script.
  • Create a post-show email or mailer in advance, telling the prospect you will reach out to them again within the week. While email is efficient and less expensive, a note sent by mail is more distinct and doesn’t have the potential to get lost in the recipient’s in-box.

Ask questions at the show.
The most effective salespeople listen more than they speak (see last month’s blog for more on this). Your time with a trade show prospect is likely limited, so streamline your elevator pitch and get right to qualification questions.

  • Start with “Are you currently working with an agency/vendor to address your need?” The in-person, conversational nature of a trade show typically yields a robust response about existing relationships.
  • Allow the prospect ample opportunity to share their thoughts.
  • Once they have finished, continue to explore their potential with relevant follow-on questions.

Follow up after the show.
You made good contacts at the show; now it’s time to close the business.

  • Add valid prospects to the CRM, making notes about your interaction and any unique information learned in conversation.
  • One or two business days after the show, send the email or mailer you prepared earlier. Use the information captured in the CRM to personalize your message so the recipient is more likely to remember you.
  • Execute the previously-defined trade show sales process, working towards turning trade show prospects into customers.

Measure the return on investment.
Was the trade show worth the time and money invested? This question can be answered by evaluating the sales funnel. Depending on the length of your sales cycle, this data may require months to gather and, in some cases, you may need to attend a trade show for a couple of years before deciding if it is a worthwhile investment. Ask yourself:

  • How many contacts did you make at the show?
  • How many of these people did you meet with?
  • Of those, what percentage resulted in business for your company, and for what dollar amount?

While fancy displays and cool giveaways are a staple of trade shows, a good strategy is fundamental to turn show attendees into customers. After all, isn’t that the whole point?

Silence is a Sales Strength

In comedy, well-placed silence is crucial to evoking an audience reaction. These breaks – referred to as “pregnant pauses” — give the crowd time to absorb the joke and react with laughter. But comedians aren’t the only group that benefit from exaggerated gaps in conversation. Pregnant pauses are also useful to employ in the sales process.

Too often, in trying to communicate our value proposition, sales people talk too much, effectively sabotaging their efforts. On-line business and sales leader Roy Bartell puts it this way: “Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking.’ But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.”

In sales, we are always trying to move the prospect forward. If there is no time for discussion, how do we know what the prospect is thinking? Meetings that don’t leave room for attendees to share their thoughts are never concluded, next steps never agreed upon. Gong, which makes a product that analyzes sales conversations, conducted a study to determine the appropriate talk-to-listen ratio for optimal sales. In the more than 25,000 sales conversations analyzed, they found the average B2B sales rep spent 65%-75% of the call talking. That left little time for listening.

Though they may feel uncomfortable at first, adding pregnant pauses in your sales meetings will pay big dividends. Being intentional about leaving “white space” in a conversation ensures your prospect not only comprehends the information you are sharing, but also has time to process and react to it. The Gong study found that top closers spent an average of 43% of their call time talking and 57% listening. The more the salesperson talked, the less likely they were to close the deal.

Pregnant pauses not only give prospects an opportunity to speak, but to do so in the manner most natural for them. Carol Linden of Effective with People emphasizes that communication styles between introverts and extroverts vary significantly. Extroverts need space in the conversation to process their thoughts out loud, which enhances their ability to absorb information. Introverts require time to process information before responding and will wait for others to stop talking before they speak up. If not given the opportunity to voice their thoughts in a meeting, introverts will share them in private with their peers afterward, leaving the sales rep unaware of concerns, objections, or vital information. Whether your prospect thinks to talk or talks to think, extended pauses during the sales meeting are essential to moving the sales process forward.

The next time you are in a sales conversation, take a tip from comedy greats and give your audience the time it needs to respond. The positive results are no joke!

 

Chemistry is great (but it’s not a sales strategy!)

We’ve all heard stories — and experienced it ourselves — of two people immediately hitting it off, perhaps even falling in love at first sight.  This instant attraction, often referred to as “chemistry”, is a mutual feeling of connection that transcends the spoken word.  Chemistry doesn’t have to be romantic.  It can happen anytime we encounter someone new, even through our work. Have you ever met someone at a trade show with whom you clicked immediately? Or looked forward to working with a client that seems to “get it”?

Some attribute chemistry to intuition, others think it a result of compatible pheromones.  Whatever the cause, these feelings of connection happen to almost all of us. And while it is exciting to experience a bond with another person, never mistake chemistry for a sales strategy.

Let’s say you are at a trade show where you have a conversation with someone you feel drawn to. He responds in kind, and you have a great interaction that moves him to the top of your prospect list. Once back at the office, you follow-up with your new contact, but your emails and phone calls go unanswered. You begin to question your trade show exchange: “Was I mistaken? Didn’t we have a connection?”

So what happened? Your trade show prospect went back to their office and was immediately overwhelmed with other priorities — a backlog of emails, a report due to his boss, a project deadline — that delayed a response to you. While reconnecting is at the top of your to-do list, it falls toward the end of his as he works through more pressing matters.

Having chemistry with a prospect is a great first step towards making a sale. Let’s face it, we all prefer to work with people we like. However, that bond is not a reason to ditch your normal sales process. Chemistry needs confirmation. Just as an enjoyable first date does not always end in a relationship, connecting with a person may not translate to dollars, nor does a good meeting guarantee a sale (or another interaction).

How do you avoid losing the trade show prospect once they’ve returned to their office?  Your sales strategy cannot rely on chemistry to move forward. Rather, you must confirm there is a next step in the sales process that includes you. This means, while you have the opportunity, getting information that will move you into the “courtship” phase of your relationship.  

Whether you’re following up from a trade show or sales meeting, ask your prospect 3-4 of the questions below to solidify next steps in the sales process:

  • What are your next steps to evaluate what you have seen/heard here?
  • Can we set up a call for next week? Let’s go ahead and get it on our calendars.
  • Who will make the final decision on what you purchase? Who else influences your selection?
  • Are you planning to make a decision in the next 10 days? When should I expect to hear from you?
  • How does our product compare with others you have seen?
  • Where do we stand in relation to the competition? Is our proposal/product among your top three contenders?

Chemistry is an asset in the selling process, but don’t confuse it with a sales strategy. A positive interaction must be followed up with a confirmed next step to get you closer to a sale. Sales is like dating: it takes multiple dates in the courtship phase to get to a long-term relationship!

Breaking Up with a Client

Happy 2018!

January offers a fresh start, a time when we make resolutions to do better, to be better. It’s also an opportunity to take stock of your business by asking three “W” questions:

  • WHAT: Are we doing the work we want to/should be doing?
  • WHO: Are we working for the right customer?
  • WHY: Is the work we are doing lucrative or moving us in the right direction?

Your business will evolve over time, as can a client’s needs, so what do you do when answers to these questions point to a client relationship that’s no longer working?

What would make you need to break up with a client?

Let’s face it: clients keep us in business. But sometimes, as in any relationship, it may be time to walk away. Breaking up is hard, especially when the other party contributes to your bottom line.

Consider this example:

Retail shop owner Claire hires marketing expert Sue to craft a strategy to increase the visibility of her store. Sue and Claire agree on objectives, budget, and schedule. Sue presents the plan to Claire, who gives her approval for Sue to proceed. Halfway through the execution of the plan, which is working as expected, Claire decides she wants to modify the approach, believing her new plan will magnify their results. As a professional marketer, Sue immediately sees issues with Claire’s adjustments and raises her concerns. Sue points out that not only will Claire’s strategy fail to achieve the agreed-upon objectives, it will also undermine the work they have done to-date. Sue tries unsuccessfully to reach a compromise with Claire, who insists that Sue move forward with executing her new (flawed) plan, with the expectation that it will produce amplified results. Sue is in a bind. Not only has her professional advice been ignored, but she knows that if she continues with Claire’s plan, it will not produce the desired outcomes, reflecting poorly on her.

Sue is clearly in a no-win situation, and her best option is to “break up” with Claire before her reputation is damaged. You may also need to break up with a client if:

  • Your client’s goals and/or the approach to reach them differ from your own.
  • Your professional partnership has stalled, with neither party experiencing growth.
  • You feel instinctively that an issue exists with the relationship. (Refer to our “Measuring the Hunch” blog post for ways to test your theory.)

How do you prepare for a break up?

Think of breaking up as pruning a shrub; you must cut off the old to allow new growth to flourish. These steps will walk you through what to consider prior to a breakup:

  • First, you must be able to clearly articulate the reasons for the breakup. If you cannot state why you want to dissolve the relationship, it’s in your best interests to reflect further on the decision.
  • Next, assess the impact of the breakup on both your and your client’s business. Be prepared to address any issues that may fall out. For example, if your client will require further support, be ready to make a recommendation for another service that could help them.
  • Then, prepare for the financial implications of the breakup. Fill your pipeline to replace lost income and adjust expenses as necessary.
  • Finally, prepare your internal team for the breakup. Ensure they communicate the same reasons for the breakup and that you are all on the same page with respect to timing.

It’s time to break up. How do you do it?

Follow these guidelines to make your client breakup as smooth as possible:

  • Don’t delay. Once you’ve prepared for the breakup, act quickly. The goal is start the new year fresh.
  • Express gratitude for your professional relationship to-date.
  • Explain the rationale for the breakup. Keep the reasons simple and avoid over-explaining.

After the breakup – what next?

Post-breakup is an excellent time for active self-reflection and recalibration. Ask yourself:

  • Where did this client relationship go off-course?
  • What could they or we have done differently?
  • How can we avoid the same mistakes moving forward?

Breaking up with a client is a big step.  By “pruning the branches,” you’re allowing for more energy and focus on growth and creativity.  What you learn from the breakup may propel you onto greater things, so be optimistic! It is a new year, after all!

How to Derail “Send me the presentation.”

“Send me the presentation.”

As a salesperson, these four words are equivalent to the kiss of death for a burgeoning business relationship. In my experience, this request is (polite) code for, “I am remotely interested, but not wowed enough to take this relationship further.” Or perhaps, “There are some good things here, so I’m going to email your presentation around the office. Once we’ve gleaned all the information we want, the file will be placed in a folder and we’ll forget all about it (and you).”

Too often I’ve seen potential relationships fizzle out when a well-meaning salesperson gives in to a request for an electronic copy of the deck used in a meeting. How do you break this pattern? It starts by understanding your role in the sales process.

A sales meeting should have a specific agenda, set by you, the salesperson. Prior to the meeting, you and your colleagues must determine the answers to two critical questions:

  • What are we asking of the prospect?
  • What commitment or action do we want in response?

The ball is in your court. At the beginning of the meeting, you lay out the agenda.  At the end of the meeting, ask your prospect for their thoughts. Listen. Answer questions. Don’t sell. If what you offer is right for the prospect, you’ll know it. If both you and the prospect agree your solution is viable for them, you define what subsequent actions each of you will take. This is when you ask for the next interaction, if necessary, making sure to include all interested parties.

When you’re in control of the sales process, the odds are on your side that you’ll avoid the kiss of death. Sometimes, however, people in the sales process are new to working together, roles are not clearly defined, or the team finds themselves on the defensive. You may also discover that the prospect has their own way of moving, which will alter the flow of the meeting. I’ve been in situations where I’ve held back so I could better understand the prospect’s dynamics or keep them from feeling overwhelmed, thereby sacrificing some control.

In such cases, when the dreaded presentation request cannot be avoided, honesty is the best policy.

“Sure, Ms. Prospect. I’d be happy to send over the deck. My one reservation is that when we’ve done so before, it is difficult to keep the conversation alive. So, if we send it, can we also agree to set up our next interaction, be it a call or in-person meeting, to keep the ball rolling?”

People like a straight-forward approach. It’s polite and is not a dishonest sales tactic. It feels like the truth — because it is — and a good prospect will be comfortable with the truth. Moments like this show the prospect you can be trusted, you want the business, and you expect to move forward. Building trust allows you to resume control of the conversation.

Do you need help avoiding or navigating the kiss of death? We’re available to help you win new accounts, improve your selling skills, and implement best practices that will positively impact your selling process.

Measuring the Hunch

Intuition is a powerful tool in a business setting. Sometimes, a situation just “feels” right (or wrong) and it makes sense to trust our instincts. However, relying on hunches shouldn’t be the basis for your sales strategy. But what if you could measure those hunches? What if you could take a feeling and turn it into facts?

Consider this example:

Bob has had considerable success selling his company’s technology services to small- to medium-sized insurance companies. He’s developed a great relationship with a client named Jill. In fact, Jill likes Bob so much that she introduces him to her neighbor Tom, who happens to be an administrator at a local private school. Tom and Bob hit it off and, before you know it, Tom’s school becomes Bob’s newest customer. Based on this experience, Bob has a hunch that he should explore selling into the education industry.

Bob now has a choice:

  • He can continue to focus specifically on the insurance industry, where he has a proven track record, and chalk the new relationship with Tom’s school up to good fortune. In doing so, is he ignoring a viable and untapped market?
  • He can divert his sales efforts to the education sector. This will require a learning curve and a new contact base, but the payoff could be great. Or it could fizzle out. Given that there are only so many hours in the day, is the time Bob will put into developing this new sector worth the risk of missing out on acquiring more business in the insurance industry, which has already proved to be a successful market?

Rather than move blindly into this new industry segment, a fact-based assessment can be used to measure Bob’s hunch and determine the viability of the market. Outreach to a sampling of prospects in the education industry can provide measurable data about whether his technology services are a good fit. With the right information, Bob can decide to follow his hunch or not without sacrificing sales along the way.

Measuring the hunch is a systematic way to use metrics to drive your sales strategy and process. It can be applied in a variety of sales situations:

  • You have a database full of prospects, but are concerned they are not the decision-makers. Your hunch can be validated or refuted by reaching out and ascertaining the prospects’ authority and interest in your company.
  • Your sales team gets potential customers to the finish line, but repeatedly fails to close the deal. You have a hunch that something specific in the sales process is being ignored or overlooked. Your theory can be tested by probing into the key questions that are left off the table during the sales process.
  • You’ve got a hunch that sales are down because you’re having a tough time connecting with your target audience. A variety of approaches can be used to identify key areas of focus and breakdowns in the sales process.

Intuition is helpful, but a sales strategy based on measurable data takes away unnecessary risk and positions your sales team for a greater chance of success. If you have a hunch you’d like measured, we are here to help!

How to (REALLY) Get Through to Your Prospect

Aim to find three prospects inside the company: decision makers, influencers, or someone who will refer you to the right person.

When clients have databases built for the purpose of selling to their ideal prospects, most of what we see is an attempt to reach only one person, per company- a division head, VP, or CEO. It makes sense. But it’s not enough.

If the companies you are calling on are small(er), and you know there’s only one decision-maker or influencer, then continue to call on just that one person. However, if the company is larger, your ideal prospect will be anyone with the power to make a decision or to influence amongst dominant peers.

When you have confirmed that there is more than once influencer, what you don’t want to do is put all of them in queue for your inside sales person or lead generator to make multiple calls to a few people in one week – yes, we’ve seen this happen, so we have to say it. It may be obvious but not to everyone. This looks bad. It can look to your client like desperation or (sales) operational sloppiness. Your prospect should sense assertiveness from you, not annoyance.

As an example, here’s an easy formula and it looks like this in the calling cycle. First, we recommend starting at the top of the organization or division:

President of Company (person #1)
4x contact process (call/email)
Call in September

Senior VP (person #2)
4x contact process (call/email)
Start calling process in October if no success with person #1

Director (person #3)
4x contact process (call/email)
Start calling process in November if no success with person #2

Each calling cycle can take up to two weeks, maybe longer if you find out they are out of office for any length of time. You can start calling the next person right after, or wait until the beginning of the next month. If the only numbers you have send you through to the same receptionist, you may have to schedule them a month out, lest he/she will pick up on your pattern of calling nearly everyone in the executive suite. Both ways work. It’s the principle of creating and maximizing your opportunity to gain a conversation.

If you’ve not been successful at getting through to the first person, when you start calling on the second person, SVP in this instance, it’s ok to even reference that you’ve called on their boss. People like transparency. I don’t know of any concrete evidence to the efficacy of this, but we do it and it feels natural: “Hi Brenda, this is Lilly Ferrick from the ABC Company. We left a couple of messages for John Buyer but did not hear back from him. We offer XYZ services for companies that (insert criteria here)…..”

Your objective is to connect with someone who carries the power to influence or decide. Unlike UPS or FedEx, who can drop the package at the nearest door in plain view, then text you that the package was dropped, you have to knock on multiple doors to get attention and win that first conversation.

 

About Lilly Ferrick

Lilly Ferrick LLC offers services in part-time or fractional sales management, contract sales, sales process consulting, and one-on-one sales coaching. We help companies win larger, more profitable engagements, decrease length of sales cycle, manage pipeline, and improve closing rates. Please contact us to learn more, or to schedule a complimentary session.

 

 

4 Simple Steps to Describe Your Company and Your Client

There’s that time when I walk into a room and see smiles or concerning eyes attached to a face with attentive ears and I hear the many voices sending a low, escalating rumble throughout the room. This is networking. At my left and at my right, there’s a hand to shake, a smile to give, and an opportunity to seek. And then, of course, there is always a time when I’m asked, “What do you do?” I could simply say “I’m in sales.” Then, I’d leave it to your imagination that I’m the annoying cold-caller who makes you wish you didn’t answer your phone. Or, without a word, I could slip you my business card and walk away. I’d then leave you to believe that I’m awkward, unapproachable, and, most devastatingly, unwilling to collaborate.

Although those options may produce an opportunity, they won’t produce many. And, therefore, there needs to be a concrete dialogue to specifically present who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. Here’s a way to present yourself and create dialogue:

1. Describe your company clearly.
This is your “who you are” statement. Starting and ending with a one-word description isn’t as exciting or engaging as you’d imagine it to be.

For example:
The forgettable intro: “We’re a digital marketing firm that works with small businesses that want to improve their online presence.”
*What is wrong with this one? There are a zillion digital marketing firms and a zillion “small” businesses. Too many to stick in any one’s mind.

The one you’ll remember: “We are a digital marketing firm that serves private physician practices.”
*Why is this memorable? Because if the person you’re talking to knows a doctor in private practice, you’re the first person that comes to mind if they mention marketing or growing their practice to you.

2. Describe what you do.
This phase easily flows from the preceding statement. It’s more than just cold-calling. Step-by-step, what do you do? Example: We help them improve and maintain their brand online. More importantly, we make their websites bring them new patients, and serve existing ones.

3. Describe the client.
They want growth, are on the uphill of growing the practice, not on the downhill. They value the effects of digital marketing and clearly understand that long before that new patient walks in the door, they’ve all but met their health care practitioner personally.

4. Who do you do it for?
This is always a kicker. People want to know that you have a source, that there’s someone in your corner to vouch for you, that you’re reliable and, most of all, that you’re so good at what you do, there’s lasting impact for your clients, and the right referrals.

Your end result should look or sound something like this:
We’re a digital marketing firm that works exclusively with private physician practices. Our clients are aggressive in growing their practices. They are as entrepreneurial as they are educated and patient-centered. And one of the ways they serve their patients is by making it easy to find them and get what they need on the site. We are their outsourced digital marketing department.