I didn’t expect it. But I guess these things happen in life. You’re happily married to a wonderful woman for 20 years, with two great (for the most part) kids. Life is proceeding nicely apace.
And then, bam, you run smack dab into your soulmate.
She’s Emma Brudner, author of a HubSpot blog post, “The Ultimate List of Words That Sell.” There are 13 such words. But it was Emma’s first two that made my heart go pitter-patter, because they’re the exact two that have formed the bedrock of my entire career in branding and marketing. And seeing them writ large, I’d found my kindred spirit.
“Selling is about your prospects, not your company,” writes Emma. “A simple way to make that clear is by using the word ‘you’ as much as possible.”
As I read that, knowing that marketing must do the very same thing, I am smitten. And Emma’s words continue smiting. “Think back to your childhood – did your parents ever tell you it was impolite to talk about yourself? Apply that rule here.”
I swoon. I reach for a chair — okay, I’m already sitting; just stay with me here, alright? — because that analogy is a one-off of the one I’ve used repeatedly to make the same point. (Mine is about being on a first date, where the #1 rule is to talk about your date, not about yourself.)
She continues, “Every time you might be tempted to phrase a sentence from the perspective of your company, find a way to rework it to make your prospect the subject.”
It’s like listening to myself in a mirror (or something like that). And I’m entertaining thoughts of slow, lazy walks on the beach, engaged in long philosophical conversations about second-person sentence construction.
“Customers don’t care about features and benefits,” Emma writes (quoting Colleen Francis, owner of Engage Selling Solutions). “Skip over all the amazing features your product or service contains and instead make it clear how your offering will create value for your prospect’s business.”
And that clinches it. I’m a goner. Puppy dogs. Rainbows. Daydreams of multiple offspring scurrying about the HGTV-renovated Victorian, because I couldn’t have said that better myself.
No, check that. I have said it better myself, for some 20-odd years, to any client who would listen to and heed that advice. My diatribe: Always lead with customer benefits, and only then bring in the product features that deliver those benefits. That’s a key tenet of not only sales and marketing, but of overarching brand messaging as well.
So now there’s only one thing preventing my soulmate and me from running off together and opening a boutique agency in Tahiti: We’ve never met. Never will. Which is just as well: I have a feeling that Emma is probably not into middle-aged bald guys. (Good call, Emma.)
Besides, OMG, my wife would kill me.
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