Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why did I choose to talk in a simple and straightforward manner?

I am of the opinion that the most effective advertising is one that has a direct message, clearly and perfectly aligned with the real reasons that drive a specific audience to consume a specific product or service.

Is quite frequently that I get to be negatively impressed when I listen to or watch ads made by important brands using messages so convoluted, so difficult to understand and to digest, that I can only ask myself: "Do these messages really have a positive impact on the audience they are aimed to? Do they really generate the effect that is pursued or are they only serve to fatten the pride of the person who created it?"

I am going to share with you a story that I lived some years ago in the company in which I had my best and most rewarding professional experience. By that time I was the advertising sales manager and the company was looking to hire a marketing manager.

It turns out the candidate who got hired came from a major international corporation and had vast experience backing him up, an experience of many years. But what struck me most was his way to sell himself as the best one ever!

Yes sir! The person in question had a mouth worthy of the best salespeople in the entire world. I really had to take off my hat in front of him. The way he used his words and the way he handled his vast experience to make others felt worthless was amazing.


When your ability to talk is superior to the results you are able to deliver, you are simply a "smoke seller".


My boss then fell victim to this guy’s spell and from that moment on, he started to make decisions based on what the marketing manager indicated basically because he was strongly influenced by what he thought the guy was rather than because of those recommendations were the proper ones to better help us achieve our business goals.

My situation as advertising sales manager was a bit difficult. I had to lead my team and align my group with the company's marketing policies. It was my responsibility.

However, when we had management meetings, it was very difficult for me to defend the direct information I was receiving from our market through my sales team.

The marketing manager, who had never been on the road with our product trying to sell it, and without even sitting down with the sales team to get a closer feedback from the market, continued to recommend the actions he considered proper and that had given him positive results in the past, for completely different products, without even adapting them to our specific situation at that time.

In order for the communication process to be effective, your interlocutor has to clearly understand what you are trying to say.


It was then that I decided to stop the nonsense and started putting the realities of the market on the table, exactly the same way I was receiving them from my customers: the numbers, the reasons why our customers decided to make business with our competitors and not with us, the complaints they had about our audience and product itself, and the recommendations they all gave us so that we could do a better job.

It was then that I started to talk in a clear and straightforward manner: If we implement action "A", we stop making more money. If we implement "B" instead, we are going to make more money. Supported, of course, by market information. In our meetings, I began to clearly emphasize why we were not putting ourselves in front of the right audience and recommending things the market itself indicated as correct directions.


When things are true, they do not need superfluous explanations or tricks to get people’s attention.


When I started to talk to both the marketing manager and my boss this way, it was then that things began to change. The influence of the marketing manager was no longer so strong and we began making decisions in which the marketing actions were truly aligned with sales and focused on assisting us to achieve better results, thus helping the company reach their overall business results.

From that moment on, everything changed and we were able, thank God, to reach our third best sales year ever, out of 15 years the company had been in business.

Every target market has its own language. Identify which language your market uses.


Has it ever happened to you that the doctor tries to explain what you have and uses words that are completely indecipherable to you? Have you ever been "deaf" in front of someone, only because he uses a language you are unable to understand?

My wife is a dentist and I remember clearly how, during our teenage years, I got awfully bored in the meetings we had with her group of friends, because all they did was to talk about teeth and more teeth.

I remember I built a strong friendship with the husband of one of my wife’s girlfriends, because we were always making company to each other when we went to parties and group meetings because, while they were talking about their teeth and their things, we were talking about ours, in our own language, one that we both clearly understood.


If you use the language your client uses, you can create with them much more durable and nutritious relationships.


My clients are, for the most part, business owners and entrepreneurs who come from professional backgrounds different from mine. Almost none of them has had a strong sales training as I have had, so almost none of them knows the meaning of the terms we, professional salespeople use.

Would it make sense then that I wrote each of this blog’s posts as if it was going to be read by someone who speaks my same language? Would it make sense that I try to communicate with my clients using a code that they do not understand?

Well obviously it does not. It would not make sense at all because the only one who would understand the message would be me, and those who have a professional background similar to mine. And the person who really is important, my client and those who share their same language, would be left out.

That is why you must use a language your client or the person you are going to be talking with understands completely. As we, professional sellers, like to refer to: "your target audience."

Only by using a language that is totally familiar to them, your relationships will become closer and more productive.

And the more straightforward and clear your language, the better. Try always to use words they understand easily, preventing your message from lending itself to secondaries thoughts and, generally, misinterpretations or simply, the message does not reach its destination with any strength at all.



Picture credit: Ogerepus / Ver portafolio



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