Cutting Through All the Noise - How to Make Sure Your Message Is Being Heard

On any given day, we’re bombarded by messages. We don’t even need to leave the house. Radio. Television. Internet. E-mail. Telephone. Cell Phone. Voice Mail. Faxes. Only a few of the myriad ways advertisers can reach us.


But if we do leave (the house), there’s much more: Signs on buses. Signs in buses. More signs at L stops, on benches, on top of taxis, billboards, at the checkout counter at the local grocery store.


Whoops! Can’t forget newspapers despite their lagging numbers. And of course, there’s still mail: U.S. Mail, FedEx, UPS, DSL. The list is endless, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.


So how does a small business — or for that matter, any business, break through all the noise? What does it take to be heard when you’re competing for someone’s attention?


Quiet is the first thing that comes to mind. A place free of distractions where you can hear what the other person is saying. A restaurant where you can talk and network without yelling. Or an office or conference room where you can discuss business and everyone can hear.


A modicum of interest is the next element. The person (or people) you’re talking to should have an interest in what you have to say — and sell. Does your service solve a problem for them? Can you communicate that in a clear, concise way? If so, you probably can get their attention. But to hold their interest, you need to dig deeper. You need to be able to answer objections, or the “Why should I’s” as I prefer to call them, which means you need to state your USP (unique selling proposition).


Why should I give you my business when my current provider is doing a decent job? Tell me how your service will make my job easier. Can you save me five hours a month of lost time? Will that free me up to make an additional five hours of cold calls? Woo me with figures of time saved and potential income, and I might be up for a follow-up meeting.


Maybe you prefer making initial contacts via e-mail. If so, you’ve got different challenges. Now you need some intrigue. You need to create interest. And you need to do it while maneuvering around mountains of spam.


How will you ensure that your message gets opened? Do you know how to write a clear, short subject line that doesn’t contain any spam filter trigger words? And once it’s opened, do you how to write brief, enticing copy so that when you do follow up by phone, someone will actually listen to your pitch — or better yet pick up the phone first and call you!


Here’s where good sales skills come in so handy. Knowing how to write a solid sales pitch — whether email or snail mail — is crucial.


Think about all the lousy emails you get every day. Better yet, try this easy exercise for a few days. Pay attention to the subject lines of those you delete really fast. Then look carefully at those you open, and think about why you’re not trashing them. You should see a pattern. The emails that get opened are either from someone you know, contain information you requested, or have subject lines that are so intriguing, you can’t NOT open them. That’s what you want to do to separate your emails from the those about to be trashed.


Obviously, there’s always more you can do to get your message heard. But if you start with the simple tactics outlined above, you’ll be off to a good start.


o Deliver your message in a setting that’s free of distractions.


o Make sure that the person you’re talking to has some interest in what you’re selling.


o Know your USP so you’re prepared for the “Why should I’s?”


o Create a little intrigue.


o Hone your sales skills — or written pitches as well as face-to-face presentations.


Smart marketing can cut through the clutter and all the noise. It takes understanding what your potential clients need and telling them how your company has the solution.

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