From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Selecting Communications Tools

Let's shift our focus from improving internal relationships between sales, marketing, and service to showing you how to understand buyers well enough to communicate a relevant message that builds credibility and trust.

While you may apply what you'll learn today to improving internal relationship, think about how your organization approaches the communications process. Are your messages the voice of your company, or that of your customer?

Part of selecting the right communications tools is having a clear core message and an understanding how your buyers gather information for decision-making.

Too often companies spend all their time talking about what it does for customers, instead of what customers have been able to do because of the company. It's a subtle difference in semantics, but an important one if you want to build stronger business relationships.

In the next lesson, you'll learn about the types of communications that lead to strong business relationships. Stay tuned to see which ones would work best for your specific customer.

Greatfully yours,

Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Ps. This week join us on a conference call titled, "Myths About Data Quality Management That Cost You Thousands," write data-quality for details.

How To Create Marketing Communications That Convey A Core Message That Motivates Buyers

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

For marketing communications to contribute to buying behavior, they must convey a message that invokes action. A common mistake in business communications is an inconsistent message that talks about what a company thinks is important rather than what is relevant to the buyer.

This ego-based self-aggrandizement is great for corporate esteem, but distracts from building business relationships with prospective buyers. If you want to improve buying relationships, choose a message prospects will view as being of high relevance and value.

For marketing communications to contribute to buying relationships: help a prospect feel that you understand their concerns, you're able to solve their problems, and your solution is right for them.

Start by defining a core message relevant to the concerns of your marketplace. Only after you have a meaningful core message should you consider the communications media to pursue.

A Relevant Motivating Message Is Your Desired Result

A sculptor first visualizes what they want observers to see in themselves, and then chooses the tools to construct their masterpiece. The chisel and hammer remove those things that distract from the art. Once delivered, the observer sees the finished product, not the tools used to create it.

Creating marketing communications without investigation or with more emphasis on gaining a supervisors approval is a bad practice to which most businesses are guilty.

To motivate your prospective buyers, you'll need to invest more time in understanding what is important to them. Input from sales, marketing, and service departments combined with direct feedback from customers is necessary for a relevant marketing message.

Conveying a message that primarily interests your company is a lazy and unproductive. Instead of marketing communications about your company, your core message should:

When you consistently convey a core message that demonstrates you understand your customer, you'll attract a level of credibility that makes prospects feel comfortable doing business with you. However, company centered messages do just the opposite.

Forget customer-centric mantras, use communications tools to motivate buyers through their own interests instead of imposing what you think is best for them. business to business buyers have too many choices and want to find the solution that serves their best interest. Describing what you do in a prospects words makes it easy to recognize your value and give you second glance.

Send Your Message How Buyers Want To Receive It

Poor communications not only talks about your company, but it also doesn't reach prospects where they want to receive your message. If you want to contribute to buying relationships, reach prospects how and where they want to be reached.

Learn where your customers get their information. Invest resources in those channels that reach buyers, not those easiest for your staff. Use surveys to determine what motivates buyers and where they find this information.

Your business to business buyers will use one or more communications channels. These tools help carry your core message to the minds of decision makers. Here is a brief sample of popular channels:

This is just a sample of a few communications channels, talk with your customers for the specific tools that might help you reach them more effectively. At this point, develop your own questions to make the most from each channel as it pertains to your own solution.

The point to remember is that no matter how you reach your buyers; first consider how your buyers want to be reached. Use surveys, observations, and testing to determine which channels are most responsive.

For complex sales, it is often necessary for buyers to gather information from multiple channels before moving forward with to outline specific needs. If you don't provide an easy way for prospects to continue the conversation, you could loose their attention before you knew they were interested in what you offered.

Blend your communications across these channels using multiple medium to create a consistent campaign where buyers want to hear it most. Provide two ways for potential buyers to respond. Make it easy to request more information or to move forward with a purchase.

Establishing channels of bidirectional communications also helps you collect details that improve your ability to provide relevant messages in the future. Bidirectional channels welcome response by inviting dialog instead of just broadcasting your company's message.

By developing a strategy around a core message that takes into consideration buying motivators, you'll be more responsive to specific concerns while building credibility and trust. You can invoke a buying action by sharing your customers prospective instead of just telling them your own. With a relevant core message, you'll produce more sales with less effort.

© 2004 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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