Tough Love February: It’s Not All About You


It’s no secret that people like talking about themselves, some more than others. Add to the mix a situation where you are trying to make a good impression and really get someone to like you, and we tend to lay it on pretty thick.

You’ve probably been on that really bad date where the person on the other end of the table shamelessly goes on and on about themselves, not even stopping to see if you are still interested and listening – or if you’ve started dozing off over your surf and turf dinner (we hope they were at least buying).

If it wasn’t on a date, you’ve likely seen it at parties and networking events. Or in a business meeting. Or, even worse, in marketing.

Come to think of it, some of the worst offenses we’ve seen have been in marketing. Why? Naturally, you want to talk about yourself (aka your business), and you have a lot of positive things to say. But, just like your date can lose interest or feel like they are being talked at, so can your customers.

So, how do you talk about yourself without sounding like you are all about yourself? Make it about your audience!

Here are some good questions to ask yourself as you develop your marketing message and promotional pitch:

Who is your ideal customer?

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Who are they? Think about what they do day-to-day, what their interests and hobbies are, and how they think. By determining who your audience(s) is, you will be better prepared to target your marketing and message, yielding a better return on your marketing investment.

What problem are you solving for them?

At its core, every business exists to solve a problem. What do your customers struggle with? What problems are they facing? What does your product or service do to make their lives easier, happier, simpler, etc? In marketing, we call this the “pain point”. Find the pain point and tell your audience that you are here to save the day.

How can you help?

This is the fun part where you get to brag a bit, but remember, focus on the audience. Share all the benefits and features that make your business special and better than your competitors, but do so in a way that leaves your audience feeling like you get them and the challenges they are facing.

What can they expect?

No ones likes to be kept in the dark, so be transparent about what your customer can expect. Providing a service? Give some details on the process and timeline. Selling a product? Be descriptive about the item and sales process.

Where do they go from here?

Not that they’ve made the decision to buy, what happens next? Think about how your audience wants to move forward. Do they buy online, do they call to order, do they come into your store? By knowing your audience and how they behave, you can create a better system for making the sale. In this case, better means easy, quick, and accessible.

Now that you have your audience-focused value proposition down you’re ready to talk to your customers about your business without sounding like it’s all about you. It’s a good first step, but don’t forget to also give your prospects the opportunity to talk to you! Implementing features that allow your audience to engage with you before, during, and after the transaction not only helps boost sales but can also be an integral part of building a lasting relationship with your customers.