Ever feel like you’re speaking a completely different language when you’re relaying your branding message or elevator pitch to others? Even when you deliver it coherently without stumbling over your words, something seems to be lost in the translation because people just aren’t “getting it?”
What’s often lost in the translation, what others aren’t understanding is, “What’s in this for me?”
What’s in it for me?
Defining your brand and differentiating yourself are important, but at the end of the day, people won’t buy from you or hire you unless they understand how they will benefit. And while you can make the translation easily and automatically in your own head because you’re so familiar with your work, it’s a shift that’s not so easy to make for someone hearing it for the first time (or even the second or the third).
So no matter how enthusiastically and cleverly you are broadcasting, “Here’s who I am and what I do, shouldn’t everyone want this?” potential clients, hiring managers, and networking contacts are waiting to hear, “How can this help me or someone I know?”
Speed up the understanding
How do you relay your brand message so that others see the value more clearly? Here are four ideas that can speed the absorption of your message:
Focus less on what you do and more on what your target market gets. How specifically will their life or business change once you’re in the picture? Will they make more money, decrease risk, save time or hassle? For example, don’t just say, “I’m a financial analyst” but instead say, “I help companies make more money with their investments.”
Go into more detail using examples. Since a good percentage of the population is visual, sometimes telling a story can illustrate the benefit much more clearly. You can describe a problem that you faced and the result that was gained. For example, “The company was spending money in marketing that wasn’t bringing them any customers. I worked with them to invest in programs that brought in new customers and eventually tripled their revenues.
Tie it into their specific situation. You can make a stronger impact with your message by linking it to a pain or problem the other person is already familiar with. Before you answer the “What do you do question” say, “Well, there are a number of ways I help depending on the situation, so I’ll give you an example. What industry are you in?” Then go right into a story or even an analogy they’re more likely to relate to.
Make more information readily available. When you have a great connection with someone at a networking event or even across the Twitterverse, being able to refer them to your blog with articles you’ve written and case studies that describe some of your work can help them solidify their understanding over time and at their own pace. This takes the pressure off of that initial interaction to keep talking about what you do until they get it, giving you more time to focus on getting to know them better and building a rapport which is so much more important.
It’s not enough to be passionate about your personal brand. You have to get others to be passionate about it too. Supplement your tag line, branding message, and elevator pitch with elements that touch people closer to home and your transmission will be more readily received.
Liz Lynch is founder of the Center for Networking Excellence and author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online (McGraw-Hill, 2008). She writes, speaks and consults to experienced professionals on how to seamlessly integrate social media and traditional networking to save time and accelerate results.