Your Story in My Words (Issue 613)

In which we are reminded to help our clients see their stories in our descriptions about our businesses.

Hi, I’m Nick Miller….. Nick Miller, glad to meet you….. Hello, Nick Miller, that’s a great tie….. Hi, Nick Miller, with Clarity Advantage in Boston….. Hi, I’m Nick Miller….. Hi, Nick Miller, thanks for saying, “hello….. ” What did you think of that presentation? Hi, I’m Nick Miller….. Hi, I haven’t met you yet, I’m Nick Miller with Clarity in Boston….. Hi… Hi…. Hi…. Hello….. Hi…..

During the past two weeks, I’ve been to three conferences and introduced myself to somewhere around 125 people I’d never met before in addition to greeting the several dozen I’d known from previous meetings.

After the first few introductions, the rhythm develops.

Hi, I’m Nick Miller….. Nick Miller, glad to meet you….. Hi, Nick Miller, with Clarity Advantage in Boston……

…followed immediately by questions that start with “What do you do?” or “What are you looking for in this conference?” or similar questions designed to elicit one critical bit of information: What problems are they seeking to solve?

Because, when I eventually give the other person enough space to ask me the same question, “What’s Clarity?” or “What do you do?” I am prepared to tailor my response, as best I can, to the problems they’re seeking to solve. For example (and this is one of many formats I might use, depending on with whom I were speaking):

“We work with bank business to business sales forces. One of their challenges is: Bank customers don’t see bank sales people as valuable… worth spending time with. Bankers often fall short of customers’ expectations for business acumen, industry perspective, product knowledge, and ability to get deals done. We help our clients address those shortfalls so their sales people provide better value in conversation, clients are eager to see them, and they generate more profitable relationships faster.”

25 seconds. Short and focused.

I want my conversation partners to see themselves and their challenges in my words, to see that the problems they are trying to solve are the same ones on which I’m working.

So, I first figure out what problems they’re likely to be having, then I share my focus, leading with “the problem I’m trying to solve with my clients is….”

For example, the problem I’m trying to solve is that bank sales people are frequently much younger, much less experienced, and less knowledgeable than their customers and prospects. That’s where we come in.

So, telling the ‘challenge’ story helps because, if the person with whom I’m speaking doesn’t have that challenge or something close to it, I can ask, “So, what kinds of issues ARE you working on?” If they’re still outside our wheel house, they’re probably not a good fit with our company. But, if they are working on that problem or a related problem, then we can move on to the next stage of exploration.

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