Avoiding Business Wedgies

Skipping through the cable guide the other day, I came across the cinematic masterpiece, “Revenge of the Nerds.” I enjoyed that movie, but not for the same reasons as my friends (not entirely). Beyond the triumph of the super-smart over the super-strong, the nerds demonstrated the power of packaging and how it affects perception and acceptance.

When seen merely as runny-nosed, chess-playing, violin-toting, oddly-dressed freaks, nobody cared how many wedgies, swirlies, or other physical abuses they received. They were just “another”…another non-distinctive, not-interesting group, noticed only occasionally for their unique tolerance to waistband-abrasion and toilet-water. So, they repackaged themselves. They reintroduced themselves with less emphasis on “features” (intelligence, analytical skills, knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons characters) and more on “benefits” (outsmarting their competitors, transforming weaknesses into strengths, making people happy). They changed people’s perception of the group and generated new interest in the group. People began to notice them, cheer for them, and want to be associated with them.

Why not take the same approach to business? Because while you probably don’t have bullies pulling your underwear over your head, having people see you as “just another [insert product/service here]” can have a similar effect on your business’ visibility…and its popularity. If you’re feeling bullied by your competitors, shoved into a promotional locker where customers can’t see you, or just overlooked by those who don’t recognize your value, perhaps it’s time to rethink how you present yourself. Perhaps it’s time to step out of your own shadow, and tell your story in a new way… a way that draws people’s attention and makes them want to know more. Because as the Adams College Tri-Lam’s taught us, you can be a nerd and still be amazing. You just have to tell people about yourself in a way that’s irresistible.

If you’d like to develop an irresistible introduction for your business,
contact the Wordsmith today!

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Elevator Speech: Scripted Commercial or Simple Conversation?

When it comes to creating your message, I’m all for scribbling-out your thoughts. It’s the only way to really see what you’re thinking. Letting questions rattle around in your head and then emptying every possible response onto paper can be enlightening, and lead you to a “Wow, is that what I do?” moment.

The problems start when we move from scribbling to scripting. We write-out and memorize our elevator pitch, and when given the chance, we recite it. We narrate a 60-second commercial full of seemingly important information like our title, a product list, and a location (at the corner of “Who Cares St.” and “Why Do I Give A Darn Dr.), and offer a business card that will, invariably, find its way into a recycle bin filled with other unsolicited promotional trash.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for developing your story, and being prepared to share it whenever you’re invited to do so. But don’t memorize a speech that you hope will convince people to buy from you. Share a story that invites people to buy-in to you. Trade the scripted commercial for a personal conversation. It’s the only path to a real connection.

If you’d like to learn more about developing an introduction that has people asking for your business card, contact The Wordsmith today!

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Don’t Itemize…Illustrate!

People often ask, “So, what do you do?” But they never ask, “So, what do you sell?” And with the zillions of ads and promotions being driven into our laptops, tablets, and phones every moment of every day, we’ve become very skilled at recognizing and ignoring sales pitches…online, in print, and in person.

So when someone invites you to introduce your business, introduce your business. Don’t define your business by itemizing what you sell. Describe your business by illustrating what you offer. The difference? The first option moves listeners to a polite smile and grudging acceptance of a business card that will be in a recycle bin before the day’s end. The second engages listeners and moves them to the best possible response, “Tell me more!”

Don’t waste opportunities to generate real interest in your business. Introduce yourself to success. Ditch the pitch.

If you’d like to learn more about trading your 60-second commercial for an engaging introduction, contact the Wordsmith today!

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