Beware Of Narcissism in Your Services Marketing

Narcissists beware! The hardest thing about crafting a service message is making sure that the focus is not completely on your own offerings and delivery. Does that sound strange? Not really. Ask a prospect or customer what they really want to hear about. You might be surprised to hear that it isn’t all about your company.

Balancing the need for your prospects and clients to know about your successes with the client’s primary interests in their own business and successes can be tricky. Just because you want the client or prospect to know something about you and what you offer does not mean they have any interest in hearing it. Service providers must really think about delivery of their message within the framework of a customer’s context. Is this different than product marketing? We all know that the product should talk about solving a customer’s problems. But yet, we still inundate customers with descriptions of features and benefits that do not clearly connect to a customer’s real needs. In the services marketing arena this becomes more complex – because you are talking about what the company does, not what products it produces. Does your marketing and sales messaging sound like “the world according to us?”

Let’s translate this into some important assessment questions:

  1. Does the announcement of your company’s award have meaning for everyone you send it to?

    Relevant to their industry?

    Truly important to their perception of your credibility versus the other choices they have available to them?

    Related closely to your service offerings? Helpful in broadening a prospect or client’s understanding of how you can assist them?

  2. Are all your communications targeted to the right audiences?

    Less is more – are you sending things to people and companies on the periphery of your best market opportunities? If so, why? Don’t waste their time and your money. You don’t want anyone to ask “why are they sending this to me?

    Are you aiming at buyers and influencers, or just influencers? Make sure there is a mix, leaning more towards the buyers to drive sales.

    Your message is clear, succinct and value-driven – not just good news about you.

  3. Are you communicating in a one-size-fits-all manner?

    Make sure you are using a mix:

    * Opt-in newsletters

    * Seminars targeted to specific associations or industry groups

    * Articles published in the right journals and periodicals

    * Appearances at national level conferences

    * White papers that provide actionable information

    * Testimonials that cover all key prospect types.

  4. Are you serving up “meat” or “appetizers” when you communicate with prospects and clients?

    Don’t fall into the trap that everything you have to offer has worth and has to be billable. Not every word or offer has value for your audience. Find out first before you look and sound self-important.

    Never just provide the questions a client should be asking without providing good input on the answers. It implies that you only give value to those who pay. Let’s face it, would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?

    Provide value-added meetings before a sale is made. Should you sell or should you give them a real taste of what it is like to work with you?

  5. Act, don’t just talk about creating trust and building relationships.

    Offer a significant taste of your service offering before they sign.

    Offer help with needs that you can’t fulfill by providing solid referrals and introductions.

    Make a real effort to get to know the buyer as a person. Not just someone who can give you a sale.

    Don’t “sell” if you can avoid it. Advise, educate, offer – or at the very least, don’t “sell” too soon!

– Lisa D. Dennis
© Knowledgence Associates, 2003 / All Rights Reserved

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