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Don’t Start Off Talking About Your Company

by | Oct 8, 2008 | B2B Copywriting, Sales Brochures | 0 comments

Among the corporate brochures I’ve picked up this year, the travesty we looked at last month wasn’t the only bad apple I found.

Another started with a long spiel on the company’s history. Then came a paragraph on investments made in the past 10 years… experience gained…a mention of involvement in industry associations. It concluded with the company’s mission statement and ISO 9000 certifications.

What’s wrong with that? Well, besides being rather boring – it was all, “We…We…We…”

Maybe you’ve heard the story of the sales manager who made a presentation to the CEO of a major manufacturing company. He was hoping to win several large contracts for his firm. When the sales manager finished his pitch, there was a brief pause. Then the CEO said, “Well,…that was a very good presentation about your company. Now, what can you tell me about mine?”

The point is, your prospect really isn’t interested in your company. He’s interested in his company, and what you can do…for him. Your prospect is harried, pressed for time. If you want his attention, you’re going to have to appeal to his self-interest. And you have to do it fast.

So start by talking about his problems – how they’re not easily overcome, what they might cost him – the problems you’re prepared to help him solve. Show you’re interested in him, that you empathize with him. Doing so implies you’re in a position to help him. And that will get him interested in you.

You don’t have to spend much time on this. Two or three sentences can do the trick. Here’s a good example from a power systems company:

“The soaring price of electricity is raising the need for organizations to do more to improve their efficiency, or pay the price. Energy efficiency is particularly hard to achieve in an IT environment. The transition from monolithic servers to the use of compact blade servers in datacenters has improved processing speed and helped overcome space constraints, but is accentuating power problems.”

Obviously, a plant manager or IT director wrestling with such problems is going to read on. He wants to find out if there’s something here that might help him.

The idea is to get your prospect to see his predicament, to raise his concern, and to get his head nodding in agreement with you.

Once you’ve appealed to his self-interest, then you can talk about your company…to show him you’re qualified to solve his problems. What’s more, by starting with your customer’s problems, you set yourself up to write the rest of your piece from a problem-solving perspective. Which is what your prospect is interested in.

The little time you take to address your prospect’s concerns can make a big difference. If you start by talking about your company, it sounds like you’re bragging. If you start by talking about his problems – then about how you can solve them – you build both interest and credibility.

Take-Away Point

If you start your corporate brochure or any other marcom or sales piece by talking about your company, there’s a good chance your prospect will throw it in the waste bin, delete it, or click away. So answer the question he wants answered: What’s in it for me.

Always start by addressing your prospect’s problems and self-interest.

A Little Extra Added Value

For a completely different take on some of the ideas I’ve covered today, read this article by lead-generation expert Mac McIntosh: Tips for Better Business-to-Business Print Ads.

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