Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Information Differentiates II
Continuing the conversation started last month on the subject of positioning yourself as an information provider, let's look at a second objection: "But I'm not an expert. Heck, I can't even market myself and my company!" Okay! Let's look at that…
Four More Ways to Differentiate Yourself Through Information
Tell success stories in challenge/solutions/results format.
If the people on your target list want to join your other happy clients, try telling stories of how you've helped others: overcome formidable challenges; create awesome communication solutions; and experience crazy good results.
Ah, clever grasshoppers you are. You recognize that this is the tried and true challenge-solutions-results formula for case studies. You got it now. Informative case studies are nothing more than happy stories!
Your prospects want to know how your customers went from needing more sales leads; funds for a new addition; an employee handbook that doesn't stinkaroo; or a new media kit to let the marketplace know about a firm's awesomeness to: we blew through our sales target this quarter; we raised $250,000! Construction starts in two weeks; my boss told me "fabulous job on the handbook; and awesome press coverage.
Think of awesome examples of how your customers went from need to concept to physical form to success. Throw in a few roadblocks—low budget, mean boss, starting the job at a different print shop—and you've got the makings of a thriller!
Draft your own testimonials for your clients to sign.
Ask your clients to give you testimonial statements. They will want to. Whether they actually will or not is the challenge.
Trick of the trade: Once they say yes, offer to draft something for them. This saves you asking this awkward question, "Get around to writing my testimonial yet?"
Most people hate writing! Make it easy for them. Most will appreciate the offer. After all, they want to see you succeed!
Don't forget photos and videos.
You're not a photographer or videographer, sayeth thou? If you have a phone made this century, you are one! For those of you in search of perfection, understand that the silver lining of "do-it-yourself" is "authenticity." Most people prefer authenticity, anyway.
Here are some stats:
- "If information is presented orally, people will remember about 10 percent, tested 72 hours after exposure. That figure goes up to 56 percent if you add a picture." —John Medina, Brain Rules
- "83 percent of our learning happens visually."—Department of Labor (cited by Stephanie Diamond, The Visual Marketing Revolution)
- Web pages with video are 50 times more likely to land on the first page of a Google search than those without.—Nate Elliott, blogging for Forrester Research
Bottom line: When promoting yourself and your company, don't forget the photos and video!
Association membership and ACTIVE participation.
There are other ways to tell your stories. Join the associations where the people you want to do business with hang out.
Attend the meetings. Hint, they're usually a lot of fun; be a featured speaker at a meeting or two; do the scut work: join the membership committee; or, more realistically, be the membership committee. Think about this. No one else wants to call up designers and say, "Hey, how about joining AIGA Youville?" But you do! The benefits of doing this a few hours every week should be o-b-v-i-o-u-s!
Wanna hear one of our stories?
In 2006, one of your authors started working with a struggling, 30-employee Silicon Valley health care IT company. At a C-suite meeting sometime early in the relationship, he suggested humanizing this tech company by publishing stories of people affected by medical errors.
This information-laden book project was green-lighted and published a year later. For the next two years this book was a main focal point at every relevant trade show. In 2010, the 150-employee company attracted the attention of several suitors and sold for $80 million to a private equity firm. The former president attributes a good part of his former company's and his personal financial success to the diligent "knowledge-share journey" that we traveled together.
Leading with information works. Knowledge is the only long-term sustainable differentiator out there. Your employer isn't perfect. You're not perfect. Jobs will be blown; priced too high; and you'll aggravate your important clients at some point; guaranteed. If you're the guy or gal who differentiates yourself with useful information, you'll make it past these trials and tribulations and keep the relationship going, at least most of the time.
Being a useful information provider is the key differentiator that will get you through price objections, rocky client experiences, organizational change and other barriers lying between you and your goals. PI
About the Authors
T.J. Tedesco is team leader at Grow Sales Inc., a marketing and PR services company that has served graphic arts companies since 1996. He wrote "Direct Mail Pal 2012" and seven other books. Contact Tedesco at (301) 294-9900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill Farquharson is a vice president at NAPL. Farquharson can help drive your sales. Visit www.aspirefor.com or call him at (781) 934-7036.