It’s All About Them

In which we are reminded, when prospecting, on whom to focus. My daughter the high school junior receives ten to twelve letters a week from colleges seeking her attention and our money. The colleges are the sellers. My daughter is their prospect. 

On Saturday, I gathered twenty letters and asked her to read the first paragraph of each letter and tell me which letters appealed to her most.  The first paragraphs of the letters included:

  1. Drexel University’s two minute quiz, “Who Are You… Really?, helps you find the major and career that best fits your interests and personality.  (Note: Quizzes seem to be really popular this spring.)
  2. William & Mary alumni have made it to the Academy Awards, the top of the New York Times best sellers list, and the $2 bill.
  3. Don’t let your college search overwhelm you. With the right information and preparation, it can be fun!
  4. I’ll be honest with you. NYU isn’t for everyone.
  5. Your impressive academic achievements have come to my attention. Congratulations. And I know a student of your caliber will have many top colleges and universities interested in welcoming you as a freshman in the fall of 2010.
  6. For nearly 150 years, Vassar has been one of the best-known and most respected names in American higher education. I am sending you this brochure to share a few of the reason… that Vassar has achieved this reputation as one of the nation’s leading colleges. Inside, you will find that Vassar offers:

“So,” I asked. “Which one appeals to you the most?”   Her answer (from a stack of twenty letters): “#5.”

“Why,” I asked.

“Because it’s about me.  The others are all about them, the school, how hot they are.”

Now (I hope) these schools crafted their letters to touch the types of students they most want.  Different kids will pick different letters.  I’m guessing their answers to the question,  “why,” would be the same — “They’re speaking to me. I can see myself in the letter.”

Same with us. Our prospects need to see themselves in our stories.  If the stories are about us, the sellers, our prospects can’t see themselves.


  1. Our company is the leading provider of financial services to medical practices, achieving the highest customer satisfaction scores in our region.
  2. In 2008, a ten-physician medical practice in Greenstown saved almost $30,000 in salary costs, fees,  and interest expense by by changing their cash management procedures.
  3. Based on our analysis, we believe we can save your practice more than $20,000 per year in salary costs, fees,  and expenses.

The first is about “the company.”  The second provides an opportunity for  prospects to see themselves. The third is even more personal. (Doesn’t mean every prospect will see themselves in every story. Just that they have an opportunity.)

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