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What this means to you is... Featured

9:45am EDT July 22, 2002

I spent the day with a woman from a large, West Coast promotional products company. Rhonda was a little nervous as she knew this experience might be put under a microscope when the company convened the next day for training. Yet, the owner of the firm had assured me Rhonda was the most professional and successful rep working in the field.

She had spent an enormous amount of time and energy preparing a Power Point presentation to wow potential clients. I was immediately impressed at how prepared she was at our first meeting with a committee that was to decide about a new safety program for its factory. Rhonda was professional, and her ability to relate to everyone in the room made me envious.

As the slide show began, I felt the anticipation. This group had obviously not been treated to this level of professionalism before. The first slide showed Rhonda’s company logo. Cascading into the frame was a large bullet point, “Since 1892.” She explained that ABC Co. (names have been changed) had been in business since 1892. The next bullet read, “Largest,” and she said ABC Co. was the largest distributor of its kind on the West Coast.

As the third bullet appeared, I observed various levels of interest. One gentleman had begun doodling, and a woman was giving a continuous nods of agreement.

When Rhonda finished 15 minutes later, a few people asked courteous questions and we were dismissed. Rhonda asked what she had done wrong. She knew she didn’t get the account because she had not “clicked” with the committee.

As we drove to the next presentation, it hit me. I always contend that your clients only listen to one radio station —- WII-fm (What’s In It For Me). They don’t care that you have been in business for 1,000 years and that you are the best. They want to know how that benefits them.

I offered a solution. “What if — in this next call — you give the exact same presentation, but every time you give one of your bulleted points, you offer two benefits?”

There’s very simple formula to ensure that one always keeps the benefits in mind. Every time you offer a response — a feature — follow it up with some form of “what this means to you is... .” When you finish this, repeat, “what this also means to you is... .” Rhonda agreed to try it.

The next meeting was with two people looking for the perfect giveaways for ag company picnic. The presentation began. The first bullet appeared, “Since 1892,” and Rhonda started her monologue.

“We have been in business since 1892. What this means to you is that you will be working with a well-established company — not a fly-by-night. What this also means is that, because we have more experience in promotional advertising than any other company in the area, we have more resources to offer our clients.” Not bad.

The next bullet appeared. “Largest.” Rhonda piped in, “We are the largest distributor of our kind on the West Coast, so we are able to pass on volume discounts to you, saving you money. This also allows you peace of mind in knowing that there is always someone in our office who can help you, even if I am out on the road.” Touché!

Rhonda got the order on the spot. Her clients loved her presentation, which she masterfully altered with only words.

Ask whether you are offering benefits at every opportunity. When you introduce yourself, do you simply tell people what you do (features) or do you tell them what you can do for them (benefits)? When you exhibit at a trade show, does the sign in your booth boast your company name (features) or what it can do (benefits).

Rhonda called me the other day to ask my advice on something, and continued, “What offering this advice means to you is...”

Jeff Tobe, a certified speaking professional, thrives on helping businesses develop an outside-the-lines marketing approach to set them apart from the competition and build brand awareness. Reach him at (412) 373-6592 or visit www.jefftobe.com.