Yesterday I was standing in the hall of this big pavilion here in Sydney at a technology vendor conference. The place was buzzing as it had become apparent that Donald Trump was going to pull off an unbelievable upset victory to become the 45th President of the United States. Everyone was checking Facebook and Twitter like crazy trying to find out how many Electoral College votes he had, which states were in play and there was plenty of debate about whether he could pull off a win in a place like Wisconsin which is a Democrat heartland.
It was super funny. At times like this, everyone becomes an expert. It’s like when the Olympics were on and I was watching the Pole Vault. The Australian woman missed the height and this stranger next to me turns and says, “She’s not using a stiff enough pole and he run up has a hitch in it.”
I was floored, was I seriously standing next to the one guy in all of Sydney that knew anything about the idiosyncrasies of pole vaulting?!? I asked him how he knew so much and he said, “I watched the Men’s heats yesterday so that gave me a pretty good idea of how she all hung together.”
The same thing with the Presidential election – people were debating the impact of Maine’s votes being split by Congressional District. It was insane.
Anyway, in amongst the chatter and excitement on Facebook, some guy posts something utterly stupid. He writes, “The fastest way to get funds in any business is to clearly articulate the value your business brings.”
BUZZZZZ! WRONG! STUPID ANSWER!
I hate trite comments like that. It’s up there with, “You don’t need to worry about SEO, just create awesome content that Google can’t ignore.”
People talk like that because it’s the laziest path for their intended audience. Talking about how great your business is in terms of “value” is easy… And also meaningless.
The best way to get funds into your business is to sell something that solves a problem for customers. I know, I know, selling sounds hard, but seriously, it’s the only thing that works.
The whole idea of selling has taken on a really negative connotation in modern direct marketing circles. The preferred model that people teach is to just make good stuff, share it and let people find you.
And in the grand scheme of things, that’s a model that can work. It just takes a fairly long time and it has a bunch of risks attached to it. For example, you simply may never build up a strong enough audience or establish your authority enough to get people to want to pay to buy your stuff. That’s a real problem with that model.
On the other side of the equation, if you’re looking for an injection of funds, going out and telling potential customers that you have a solution to their problems that is financially in their safe zone is a pretty good way to make that happen.
You might be thinking, “Hold on a second Sean, isn’t that the same as articulating your business value?”
Well, I’m glad you asked that question.
No, they’re not the same thing. One is about the customer and selling them a solution and the other is talking about yourself and your business. There’s a subtle, but important difference between the two.
You can never go wrong when you’re talking to people about how you can solve a problem for them simply by selling them something they can afford, particularly if it makes a considerable pain point disappear. It’s direct and to the point – you have this problem, I have this solution, it will make your life better in this way and here’s how much it costs.
Pretty simple equation. There’s no magic or any type of pokery and jiggery about articulating your business’ value – just a clear annunciation of benefit in exchange for cost.
If you want to have steady injections of funds into your business, learn how to sell and then do it over and over again!