Chapter 4: Your Messaging Sucks and Here’s Why

An effective sales message captures the attention of prospects, makes them want to learn more about what you have to offer, and creates a sense of urgency. For example, what was your reaction to the title of this chapter? Did you notice it? Did it make you want to read further? Did you feel like you wanted to read it now? When you saw it in the table of contents, were you tempted to skip the other chapters and glance at this one?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then the chapter title resonated with you, which is exactly what Carl and I designed it to do. We carefully considered several important qualities about our target readership, and we tested it with a sample of this population. We got some feedback, we tweaked it, and the fact that you just read it at the top of the page means we got it right.

Thus far, we’ve defined business development, learned how to plan it, and discovered how to incorporate a realistic sales cycle into that plan. In this chapter we will cover what you actually say to your prospects once you start implementing that plan. If your sales calls are not yielding the appointments and closings you desire, then your sales messaging probably sucks. But don’t worry! This chapter will tell you why it sucks and how to fix it.

You Get One Shot: No Pressure!
While most of us need a second chance now and then in life, there are rarely second chances in business development. You can’t call a busy vice president or CEO a second time and say, “Hey, our first conversation really didn’t go the way that I wanted it to. Can we try that again?” The prospect has moved on, and you have no choice but to do the same.

While emails can only be judged by the responses they generate, it’s not difficult to determine if your message is resonating when you’re face to face with someone. Consider a networking event where you strike up a conversation with someone and share what you do. Does his face light up? Does he pull out his phone to put you in touch with someone who needs your product or service? Or does he smile politely with a glazed look in his eyes?

If the people you meet respond with attentiveness and referrals more often than not, then you are using the right message. If you’re getting the glazed look or the polite dodge, you need to go back to the drawing board to discover the words and the phrases that will get you a better result.

There are a few common mistakes that can cause your messaging to suck. Sometimes a single word or phrase just needs to be tweaked slightly. Other times you may be making bigger, strategic messaging errors during the sales process……