Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What are your materials really selling?

Yesterday I happened across a great marketing article written by Stacy Karacostas on Biznik (which, by the way, I suggest checking out if you haven't yet). In it, Stacy points out an important mistake that businesses often make in their marketing materials.

“If you were looking for a chiropractor, bookkeeper, massage therapist, or other service provider, what would you need to know in order to choose them over anyone else?”

Chances are it would be things like:
  • A bit about the types of services they offer
  • If there is anything unique or different about what they do
  • Whether or not the specialize in, or have experience with, your particular issue
  • Who else uses them and have they been satisfied
  • What you can expect and how long it will take
  • How they are better or different than the competition
  • Where they are located, their hours and how soon you can get in
  • If they accept credit cards or your insurance
  • What to do to make an appointment
What you probably don’t want—or need—to know are the basics like:
  • What is massage or chiropractic or bookkeeping
  • The history of massage (or chiropractic, or bookkeeping)
  • Why you need a massage therapist, chiropractor or bookkeeper
Yet time and again this is exactly the type of info service providers focus on in their marketing.

The result is that they end up spending all their time and money trying to convince people they need a particular service. What they should be doing is trying to convince prospects to hire them in particular.
Interestingly, how many designers (or coaches, or green retailers/manufacturers) make the same mistake? How much time do we spend trying to convince people of our basic worthiness to people who don't get it instead of looking for the folks who DO get it, and convincing them that we're the best person for the job?

The way I see it is this: the more you try to convince people that what you do is actually worth paying for, the more it seems that you feel people need convincing. And this raises the question: do YOU believe in what you're doing? And if you do, why do you seem so convinced that other people won't believe in it? 

In my experience, half of success in selling comes from confidence in your product - and that means knowing what you're worth, and sticking by that. Your job is not to convince the non-believers. Your job is to find the folks who already believe in what you do, and convince them that you're better than the others.

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