How great would it feel to know exactly what to say that next time you meet a prospective client?
Finding the right words when speaking to prospective clients can be a big challenge. This can feel especially true when we only have seconds to make a lasting impression and we struggle to get out “all the things this client needs to know about me and my company.”
What You Want To Say vs. The Time You Have To Say It
Which of this is true for you? You meet a great prospective client at a business event and the moment comes when she asks, “So, what do you guys do?”
You open your mouth, and…
Scenario A: You stumble to find a sentence or two that summarizes your capabilities. After five minutes, you finally nailed it and the look on your perspective’s face says, “you lost me four minutes ago”. #fail
Scenario B: You realize that you don’t have much time, so you say something like:
“We are a BLANK design studio located in BLANK, and we do amazing work for BLANK and BLANK.” #doublefail
If this is true for you, the you know the common struggle of making clients actually care about what you do.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
A studio owner told me: “When we meet with new clients, it seems the more we talk, the less people care.”
They are right. Imagine listening to someone for five minutes at an event – over loud chatter, music, and maybe cocktails – go on and on about themselves only sharing their life story and accomplishments. You are there, nodding “yes,” but you can’t relate to anything they are saying. We all know we’ve been there and we know that all we want to do is find a reason to get away.
So, where do we go wrong?
Look, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely producing some outstanding creative work. Fact is, creating exceptional work isn’t your downfall… your downfall is that you are not able to create a compelling story that tells people exactly what problems you solve.
Leaning into the Solution
Knowing that the above scenarios are flawed, there must be an approach we can take which forces a conversationalist to lean in and listen, every-time. The method I recommend is called Promise-Positioning, and it works like this: When your conversation leads to your potential client popping the “what do you do” question, be precise, address exactly what they seek and present a resolution that reduces the burdens of their up and coming needs – guaranteed. And of course the solution is YOU!
BAM! Right then and there, you’ve expand your opportunity, furthered the conversation and created a memorable moment.
Your New Business Card
And here it is… leave a lasting impression by printing your promise on the front of your business card. Simple.
For reference, here is the promise I have printed that I freely give to potential consulting clients looking to improve their pitches.
“Winning that pitch might just be the overnight success you were waiting for. As a consultant, I teach design studios on how to win pitches.”
On the back, we lead them to our promise by printing a simple URL that directs them to a landing page that explains our promise position or a specific page on our website.
Now, the gap between the promise (front) and the URL (back) will raise just enough curiosity for them to take action, close the gap and solve the “pain” they are experiencing.
When you adopt this approach, once the perspective client makes his or her way to this dedicated page – *snap* – you have just expanded our window of opportunity. Clients may find their way to your portfolio and watch one or two spots that they wouldn’t have ever looked at or found if you would only have given them a standard business card.
Can you see how a good promise transforms your business card into a vivid marketing asset? Although quite simple, it makes a huge difference when your card is swimming in a purse, briefcase, or backpack after a big and busy event.
View it this way: if you can sell your studio on a small piece of paper, then you can sell your studio anytime, anywhere. Even in a few seconds.
How would you feel about presenting such a business card for your studio? Could you imagine that this would let you stand out at your next business event?
The Science Behind Why This Works: A Two-Part Formula
Promise-Positioning simply addresses a specific pain point and tells clients you will solve it. By starting with the problem, you break through the lizard brain and lessen the fight-or-flight mentality.
Why? It’s an “Ah, these guys understand us!” moment that allows the client to feel open and more likely to accept your help. In fact, once they read your offer, it’s hard to refuse – they so badly want it to be true because you’ve just promised to take away their pain.
[State the results of resolving their pain] + [Tell them that you will get them there]
Part 1: State the results of resolving their pain.
“Winning that pitch might just be the overnight success you were waiting for.”
The pain I address in this example is your struggle to get attention in a busy market. Now, the consequence of my consultancy is a possible overnight success for your studio by winning a great client. I focus on your pain but mention it only via the solution for it. This solution addresses deep desire my clients (you) hold. I address your pain point of not having the clients you deserve—great clients that make you successful—with the results that comes from resolving this pain, i.e. overnight success.
Part 2: Tell them that you will get them there.
“As a consultant, I teach design studios on how to win pitches.”
I explain what I do to help you in your journey. This explains my expertise and authority and assures you that I will get you there. This second part must take the burden off your client’s shoulders and place it onto your shoulders. At this point, the prospective client can feel at ease.
Be Provocative, But Back It Up
Promising results early in the conversation is provocative. It sets up a challenge and broadcasts your confidence. The bolder the promise you make, the bigger your commitment to your clients. And once you have made this ultimate commitment, it becomes your responsibility to fulfill. That is why it is so compelling and persuasive. By promising clients what they desperately want, we demand their attention on the highest level. But we also commit to delivering on this promise. Because we know if we don’t, it will backfire on us.
How Other Brands Have Used This Formula Successfully
Positioning on a bold promise is what the greatest brands in the world do to influence our buying decisions. Those brands use claims and slogans that are highly focused on our desires. Such claims and slogans are promises to us, the consumer.
Just look at Nike or Apple:
Nike —Just do it.
The promise: With Nike, you will do it, you will get over your inner temptation.
The promise: You are different, you are special, you don’t obey dogma.
As you see, the biggest and most trusted brands in the world position themselves with a bold promise. It’s safe to say that your studio can do the same.
Here’s a picture of my business card. It has served me well over the years:
The goal of this article was to teach you how you get the attention of potential clients by simply addressing their pain and promising to resolve it. Bold statements that promise to solve problems are the secret to great positioning. Make it easy for clients to experience your value.
That’s it! Now go enjoy the event – you know what to say, right?
P.S.: I would love to see your results. Please send your before-and-after picture of your business cards to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me all about your experience using them at the PromaxBDA event in Rome in the “The 7 Ingredients™” Facebook group.
Marko Pfann is an expert in helping agencies win pitches. He’s a guest writer of RevThink and consultant in Europe.