How you feel when people don’t get what you do

Do you know when a CEO or a sales rep delivers their elevator pitch and people have NO clue what they actually do for a living? Well, it actually happens all the time. Sadly resulting in no sales and no next appointment, nothing. Just confusion and an awkward smile in response. Here’s why it’s happening and what to do about it:

The Wrong Audience

When a business owner tells me that this is a problem they’re experiencing in their marketing and sales process, I always think that they could be talking to the wrong audience. Because surely if the person they’re talking to is experiencing a problem that this company can solve, then they would understand the value of what this company does for a living. So, the number one culprit for this miscommunication in my opinion, is wrong targeting in your marketing. Also, frankly you shouldn’t care if your Aunt Hilda understands what you do as long as your prospect does. Now, how do you handle this when gatekeepers such as supplier diversity officers or general buyers are involved? You relate what you do to a problem that the industry they work in has. For example, when a logistics client had to pitch to the diversity officer of a company, they simply said ‘we reduce the $1MM/a week delay penalty in shipping sensitive materials which is a huge industry problem for the construction industry’. To their own buyer in that company, their pitch would’ve been ‘we reduce the $1MM/ week demurrage fees’. See the difference?

The Wrong Message

If your pitch is trying to convince someone that they need you, it’s the wrong message. The golden rule of messaging is based on the fact that 70% of humans purchase something to solve a problem. If you are in front of people who have a problem that you can solve and are using their words to describe the problem, how can they possibly misunderstand what you do for a living? Therefore, look carefully at what you’re saying to the prospects you’re trying to convince to buy from you. Are you talking specifically about their pain and how you solve it? Are you using your own industry jargon or their own language? Remember, it’s all about them, not you and what you want to say or sell to them.

Too Complex

When your pitch tries to cover too many aspects of what you do, it inevitably confuses the prospect who is listening to your pitch. Confused minds don’t buy, they don’t refer, in fact-they don’t even listen. You have a few precious seconds up front to get their attention, whether in person or online with your landing page messaging. If you’re not using it to hook their interest talking about one aspect of their most painful costliest problem that you solve, you waste the opportunity. Dumb down your pitch and see your prospects’ confusion clear up.

So the next time your prospects are confused about what you do, think about these three possible culprits and iron out your pitch before you hit that networking event.

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