Clients and colleagues alike tell me that the hardest part of business development is simply getting their foot in the door. Prospects seem to arm themselves with phrases like “I don’t need that” or “We already have one”.

The key to lowering your prospects’ defenses is to craft your message so that you appeal to their needs. Remember that your desire to impart knowledge about your company does not engage new clients. You have to intrigue them.

Simply put, your marketing message is not for you or your company; it’s for potential clients who have a need. Form your message with the explicit purpose of meeting that need.

How to Appeal to Prospects

To get started, I suggest you reinvestigate the three business essentials that deliver your message: your business card, website home page, and elevator speech.

  1. What does your business card say, and keep saying?
    Make sure your title reflects the benefit from the prospect’s perspective and that the card carries a clear reminder of your products and services.It’s very prestigious to be able to print Vice President of Business Development next to your name, no doubt about it. However, it really only says that your interests are focused on increasing your own business. It indicates nothing about how you will help prospective clients.Instead, consider Vice President and Client Strategist.If you really can’t adjust the title, then consider a personal tagline like “Connecting clients with better strategies.”Everyone, regardless of their role, should have enough information on their business card for any recipient to understand the product or service your business provides. Never, ever assume that people know or will remember what you do.
  2. Does your home page clearly state what you do?
    Amid the rotating banners, the clever taglines, and the social media buttons, can your viewer instantly understand what your company does? Fight the urge to be overly clever or subtle and instead clearly state what you are selling, preferably along with one or two benefits that would appeal to prospective clients.This doesn’t mean that the Services button is included on the navigation bar. Your core products or services need to be showcased front and center. If they are not obvious, your viewer will never see them. According to the Nielson Norman Group, viewers typically leave a website within 10-20 seconds and a 2014 report indicates that 90% of B2B buyers expect to find a vendor’s products and services on their home page.
  3. What do YOU say about your business?
    Besides the plethora of networking events, there are many opportunities every day to describe your business. Are you describing your business from your perspective or from the listener’s?

EXAMPLE: We train high-end project managers on how to use micronized widget spreadsheets. I personally oversee every group research hive. We’ve been in business for 30 years now and have improved our market share by 10% in the last six months alone.

REFOCUSED: We help businesses better utilize their employees through specialized training. Our main goal is to save businesses money by retaining skilled employees, and we’re proud to say we’ve been doing that for three decades. We’ve found that by listening to employees and providing some development needs, they are much happier, more productive, and even more loyal to their employers. Have you ever had a problem with employee turnover?

Make your elevator speech make sense to everyone and never give more than they can absorb. They can always ask for more.

Sullivan Solutions solves marketing problems.

Enough said. If you’d like to hear more, let me know.

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