SWOT Team: Communication with One Voice

Large companies face a greater challenge because their employees work in teams or groups. They must ensure that they communicate one message rather than multiple messages from different business units. They must avoid sending mixed signals.

This week’s problem asks for your advice on how to send a cohesive message. How does your company communicate the idea that all is for one and all for one? What can a company do to ensure that its communications are consistent?

Show the value of your service.

A reader points out the importance of communicating the value your product or service will bring to a potential client.

The key drivers that drive economic value are:

  1. Revenue Growth
  2. Cost reduction
  3. Working Capital Improvement
  4. Asset utilization
  5. Risk
  6. Benefits and Costs Timing

Non-tangible such as status, image, and emotional connection are also sources of value. To effectively market a service, you must communicate how it impacts key drivers of value. Does your service increase revenue? Reduce risk? Reduce risk? Reduce the time it takes to see benefits. Although client testimonials are valuable, you should also provide quantitative evidence of the value of your service.

Knowledge is often provided by businesses that offer professional services. It isn’t easy to quantify the value of knowledge and expertise. Tony Wanless is a principal at KnowPreneur Consultants and believes that selling soap should be different than selling intangible expertise, such as engineering or creative skills.

Most knowledge businesses still use old-fashioned (advertising-oriented) b-school methods that were developed for the manufacturing-sales-distribution world. Marketing knowledge businesses often fail because it’s using the wrong way for the faulty product. This is rarely effective.

Offer prospective clients a way to gauge value.

  1. As a way to tease prospects, reinforce the principle of “try before you purchase”: Offer them some free advice. If it’s worthwhile, they will come back to buy more.
  2. Problem-solving is the basis for all services. Your service would not be sought if prospects did not have problems. Often, chances aren’t sure what their issues are. Please help them to articulate their problem before you sell them a solution.
  3. Establishing proper goals is important. Many prospects run service businesses, which can present planning problems. A client who manufactures widgets has a clear objective: To make and sell XX widgets. Clients who run other service businesses often have more vague objectives, such as “make a profit” or “increase sales.” These are not goals but directions. Show your prospects how to set realistic and appropriate purposes. You can then add other services to that.
  4. Commoditize expertise: Prospects are used to products or services that are consumer-style, and they are wary of services where the meter ticks constantly, but the results are not very clear. Find a way to turn your service into a commodity. For example, “a 30-day plan to increase sales by 30%” or “a proven method to reduce your costs by 25%.”
  5. Use expertise marketing. Your business relies on your expertise and the trust of clients in it. So, use viral marketing to promote it. Expertise marketing is a technique that writers of business books use to make themselves acknowledged and trusted experts in a particular field.
  6. You can do this by presenting your topic at any event that you are invited to, holding seminars, writing frequently in publications that cater to your target audience, offering your expertise as a commentator (not for ego purposes), linking up with other Web sites who provide advice, attending events that target prospects hear and offering free advice. Also, having your current clients promote you everywhere is more effective than any marketing technique. You’ll be surprised at how eager they are to help. If not, they may be unhappy with your service, and you’ll have a bigger problem.

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