Talk about the value you’ll bring, not why you’re ‘not rubbish’

22nd October 2013

Many years ago, Estate Agents made a big thing about a house having central heating. And it made sense then – most houses didn’t have it, so it was a good selling point. But now that things have changed, it would be odd to see them doing this now.

A few years ago, some car companies’ marketing focused heavily on the fact their cars had air conditioning. But now that more cars have it, it’s less impressive. So fewer talk about it.

More recently, some companies used to sell themselves by ‘being green’. Again, this made sense then. But, now that many more companies are doing it, it’s less impactful (though, interestingly, many still talk about this as if they were the only one).

As time passes, what used to be your differentiators become your qualifiers. In other words, something that used to make you stand out is now simply an ‘entry pass’ that allows you to compete. Like gamblers’ table stakes – they allow you to play, but don’t mean you’ll win.

So how do you market your ideas, your company, yourself?

Do you…

…focus on the unique value you’ll bring?

Or say things others could say – ‘good customer service’; ‘market-leading products’

…explain the strengths of your proposal?

Or talk about the fact you don’t have weaknesses – ‘We have technical expertise’ = ‘we’re not stupid’; ‘We were founded in 1922’ = ‘we’re not young and risky’

…say things that are impressive now?

Or that were persuasive once – ‘we’re green’

A good way to check how persuasive you are: review your communications through someone else’s eyes. For example, imagine you were:

  • the recipient – when would they be impressed? Bored? Think ‘I’ve seen this before’?
  • the competition – when would they think ‘wow – I can’t compete with that’? Or ‘this is the same as what I’d say. In fact, I could put my name on the front instead of theirs’
  • the friend – if one of your friends saw it, when would they be surprised by how good/bad it was?

When my family decide to sell our home, we won’t major on the fact it has central heating. When you sell your ideas, what will you avoid talking about?

Action point

Later today, you’ll have to persuade someone to do something. Review the arguments you’re planning to use – are they only gamblers’ table stakes? Or have you included content that will help you win? To receive Tuesday Tips, click here

Want more Tuesday Tips?

Every week, Andy releases a Tuesday Tip via email and his website, let’s take you back to the archive of tips.

Back to Tuesdays Tips