It is a question that nearly every person is asked at one time or another, and chances are they might not have a ready answer. If they do, it often sounds rehearsed, and vaguely like what the other guy said just a few minutes before. So when someone stops you during a gathering and asks what you do, how do you answer? How do you effectively communicate your message?
Before you answer with a shrug or a carefully crafted piece pulled from the Internet, allow me to give you an example of what I commonly hear. I was speaking in front of a group of financial advisors and insurance agents. I approached five different people in the audience, introduced myself, and asked them what they did. These were their responses: “I’m an insurance agent” or “I sell insurance” or “I am a financial consultant” or “I am a financial advisor.” Every answer was pretty much the same. What they failed to realize is that if you sound like everyone else, you’re not going to be remembered. In his book Purple Cow Seth Godin talks very well about being remarkable. There are a lot of cows out there, and most of them are brown or black and white. The trick is to make yourself a purple cow, and stand out from the rest of the herd.
While going out and buying a purple cow suit might be fun and humorous, it’s not the most practical way to make yourself stand out. In order to make you remarkable, your message has to be remarkable. After all, what you say is a big part of the impression that people have of you. If you think about it, how you craft your message says what kind of artist you are. What you say, and how you say it can greatly influence the picture that the listener associates with you and your brand. The picture should be clear and focused; the listener should see, without any doubt what you do, and what you can potentially do for them.
Once you’ve figured out what exactly you do, and trust me, the first part isn’t as easy as it sounds, the next step is to make it memorable and unique. This is where you have to consider the two main motivations of any sale: pleasure and pain. Most people, if not all are motivated to do something to either increase their pleasure or decrease their pain or discomfort. Think about the last time you ate a wonderful dessert at a four star restaurant. You didn’t buy the dessert because you thought it would be a good investment. No, that chocolate cake was bought because the taste brought you pleasure. Or, think of the last time you were out of town with a blinding headache, and the only source of pain killers was the trial size sold at the hotel desk—it was way too expensive, but you bought them anyway, right? The price of pain was much more intolerable.
If you keep these motivations in mind, creating a unique message is not hard at all. Start by identifying sources of frustration or pain that your product or service can eliminate for your potential customer. Then, look at the idea of pleasure. What could your product or service provide the potential customer that would bring pleasure and satisfaction to themselves or their bottom line? So, by answering these two fundamental questions, you can use this basic template to create a unique message:
We have created some unique strategies that will (eliminate, avoid, reduce etc your pain) and (increase your pleasure).
And here’s an example:
“Our company has created a unique process that will reduce your exposure to risk, and increase the profitability of your company.” Doesn’t that sound better than “I am a commercial insurance agent”?
Once you’ve created your unique message, the trick is to use it effectively. By altering the words to suit the situation at hand, you can use it for nearly every situation that you will encounter. It can be used for a voicemail message, an email, and even a posting on one of your social media sites.
What do you do?