When it comes to household appliances, I am not usually prone to blanket generalizations.
But, in this case, I am going to make an exception: My toaster is way smarter than my coffeemaker.
You may find this surprising, since coffeemakers, with all their bells and whistles, are the alpha males of the small appliance community: sleek, powerful, sexy.
Toasters, on the other hand, have been around forever – I guarantee you that Harry Truman owned one. And they have barely changed in decades: a couple of vertical holders for the bread and a dial for selecting your preferred degree of toasting.
But here’s why my toaster wins…
If the toaster is unplugged (something I do after each use), the bar for lowering the bread won’t stay down. This simple feature reminds you to plug it in before you walk away.
The coffeemaker? It has no such interest in your little problems.
Which means that you can measure out your coffee, pour in your water, hit the start button and run off to take a shower … only to discover upon your return an hour later (what can I tell you, the water felt nice) that the damn thing is still parked in neutral.
The coffee maker may be impressive, but the toaster, with its built-in failsafe device, is focused on making your life better.
Think Like a Toaster
The point of professional services marketing, of course, is to attract clients and grow your business.
And yet, when it comes to “marketing communications” – the words you use to get your message out in the world – way too much of it is inwardly focused; it’s all about our qualifications, our credentials, our experience, our client list.
That stuff is fine. And necessary to some degree.
But if that’s what the bulk of your communication is about, you’re like an unplugged coffee machine: nobody cares how fancy the features are if you neglect what matters most – in this case, what problem(s) do you solve?
Highlight What Matters to Them, Not to You
Every day, in lots of little ways, you have opportunities to tell your story, often in the form of a “headline.”
Does the headline beneath your photo focus on why you are so wonderful?: “Speaker, Author, Certified Trainer, MBA”
Or, like Charlie Goodrich, does it highlight the work you do for others?: “Consultant specialized in restructuring and insolvency.”
On your web site:
Does the headline at the top of your home page say something vague like, “Strategic Imperatives Comingled with Cross-Functional Platform Excellence”?
Or, like Roger Magalhaes, is it super-clear?: “Installation Training For Window Treatment Professionals.”
In your newsletter:
Does the headline in your banner (you do have a banner, right?) consist of a perhaps catchy, but self-referencing and nebulous tagline like, “The Client Whisperer, Shifting Focus With No Hocus Pocus”?
Or, like Dianne Savastano, does it state simply how the newsletter helps readers?: “A monthly guide to navigating the complexities of healthcare.”
Here’s the bottom line.
Other people don’t give us a lot of space in their overloaded brains or busy lives. So when it comes to your marketing, you have but two options:
Option #1: Talk about yourself … and I will be impressed by you.
Option #2: Talk about me and how you solve my problems … and I will hire you.
Don’t make me send Harry Truman over there.
- If the coffeemaker is the alpha male of the small appliance community, which appliance is the alpha female?
- Do you think Harry Truman made his own toast? Explain.
- What headline do you have on your LinkedIn, web site home page, and/or newsletter banner?
Share your answers below…