We’ve become a breed of highly specialized humans. We have job descriptions that make no sense to anyone, including ourselves. I’m still not clear what it is my husband does all day and I dread being asked to explain what he does, especially to my parents who seem to ask about his work on a recurring basis.
Have you met people like this? Or perhaps you’re one of them? When someone tells me they’re an organic, craniosacral therapist and energetic healer who harnesses the power of Himalayan salt and a tuning fork, I zone out after “cranio…”. I just smile and nod then head for the cheese platter. The only person that kind of description makes sense to it the person who made it up and it’s not providing clarity to anyone.
When we confuse other people they don’t want to do business with us. Why would they when they don’t even understand the words coming out of your mouth? Or, when they visit your site, read several paragraphs and still don’t have a clue what it is you do, then you really have a problem. If you find yourself doing a lot of explaining then you aren’t clearly communicating and you’re losing business. If you tell people what you do and the typical reaction is, “Oh, that’s interesting. Do you want to see pictures of my dog?” then you’re also losing business. That or your friends are very self-absorbed but let’s deal with the former first, shall we?
How to get a handle on what you offer
The main problem business owners have when describing what they do is to focus only on themselves. It might be shocking to hear, but people don’t care about what you do, they only care about how you can them help solve their problems. That’s all we want in this life, someone to take away our pain. The good news is, most people are willing to pay for painkillers and the bigger the pain, the more money they are willing to part with.
Your job is to figure out what the perceived problems are for your niche. Once you’re clear where it hurts the next step is to figure out how your business solves that problem.
That’s it, that’s all you really are is a highly specialized, problem solving machine. Now you have to get the word out to your market in a quick and delightful way. Thankfully, there’s a very simple formula you can follow and once you have the details from the previous step all you have to do is fill in the blanks.
I help [insert niche description] who are [insert area of pain/suffering] by [insert way you help them].
For example, mine might be : I help [entrepreneurs and start-ups] who [can’t afford to hire a designer ] by [providing pro design tips so they can create their own beautiful branding].
Presto! You now have a simple description of what you do that would even make sense to my grandmother. Although, I’d have to fill her in on what “start-ups” and “branding” are but my target market will get it and that’s the most important thing.
The final step
There is one additional tip to help you get the most out of this exercise. Once you’ve created your clear description, set it aside for an hour or a day and then write another one. Keep doing this until you’ve got a handful of sentences to revise, merge and finally show off to a few trusted advisers. The best advisers are people in your target niche since they’re the ones who can most accurately verify if what you have to offer really does sound like a great solution to their problems.
As you go through the variations, experiment with words to find the ones that best capture the character of your business. Avoid catch-phrases and corny business terms like “out-of-the-box” or “forward-thinking”. If it’s a term you hear a lot in boardrooms it’s probably best to avoid it. One might even cringe over the word “branding” but hey, I just threw that together on the fly and maybe I’ll replace it with “marketing” or something. Or maybe not.
Did this help you clarify your communications? If you need more help let me know by sending me a note or leaving a comment below.