How to Annoy Your Prospects and Make Them Run to Your Competition

If you make your prospects sort through a lot of information that isn't (yet) important or relevant to them, you might be pushing them to your competition.

This is the final part of our “5 Fast Fixes” series, where we have been discussing simple, often inexpensive solutions to fix five common marketing mistakes that you may be making.

Part 5: Talking About Yourself (At First)

We’ve all have encountered “that guy” or “that gal” somewhere. You know the one that talks nonstop about themselves, dominates the discussion, or has to have the last word on everything someone says.

We date these people (hopefully just once), get ambushed by them at networking events, and are pestered by them at the coffee shop when we are just minding our own business.

They are the oversharing salesperson who didn’t hear a thing you said. The cashier who dumped their detailed life story when you were just being polite. The solicitors at your door – religious groups, political candidates, or myriad home improvement companies –ironically all ignoring the “no soliciting” sign you posted.

Your best skill in these situations is to gracefully and promptly end the conversation, without showing any hint of interest, or disclosing the slightest bit of personal information.

Yet many businesses and entrepreneurs do this same thing every day in their marketing. And if you are making this mistake, you are probably annoying your prospects so they will go somewhere else with their business.

How so?

To understand how you might be turning off your customers, you need to understand this important principle….

Your Prospects Don’t Care About You (yet)

That’s right. Your prospects don’t care about you (at first).

They don’t (yet) care about the history of your business.

They don’t (yet) care how many awards you’ve received.

They don’t (yet) care about your core values or your mission statement or your company’s vision and goals.

And they definitely don’t want to sign up for your newsletter. Yet.

But for many businesses, these are the first things they talk about in their marketing messages – websites, emails, even brochures. Long before ever getting around to what they do or offer.

What Do Customers Care About

What Do Customers Care About

Your prospect came to you looking for something. So the most important they are trying to figure out – regardless of the marketing channel they used to find you – is whether you have the solution to their problem.

  • Can you alleviate their pain? 
  • Give them a positive, memorable experience? 
  • Help them avoid a negative outcome if they fail to take action?

Your prospects should be able to easily tell what problem you solve, how you make their life better, and what the next step is if they want to move forward.

They don’t want to wade through core values, history lessons, and bragging sessions.

Ultimately, your prospects care about surviving, thriving, and solving their own problems.

They first want to know “what’s in it for me?”

Examples and Solutions

Here are real life examples (edited to protect the guilty), with key principles to make it better:

  • “By choosing us for your (fill in the blank product or service), you’ll be helping us fulfill our mission to (wonderful aspirational goal) for each (transaction prospect engages in).

Prospects aren’t going to care about your mission until they know you care about theirs. Statements like this make you sound desperate and needy!

Principle: Focus on what they want or need first.

  • “XYZ Company has been in our family for # generations and ## years after our (prior generation relative) started in 19## with $# in their pocket.” 

The history of your company might eventually be important, but not until the prospect figures out what you do, how you make their life better, and what it takes to get started.

Principle: Save the history lesson for later.

  • “Sign up here to receive our newsletter, so you can keep up on all the latest things we are doing.” 

This sounds like spam, and nobody wants another newsletter in their Inbox.

Principle: Offer something valuable in exchange for their email. Then help them get to know you in smaller, bite size pieces (i.e. strategic email campaign) over time.

Eventually It All Matters

Eventually, a prospect will probably want to know about your history, experience, and other background information. But you can’t start there.

Answer “what’s in it for me first. Once you have assured them that you can solve their problems, then they will want to know more about you.

In fact, they might eventually become as excited about your core values as you are. But probably not at first. So don’t start there.

Bottom Line

Focus first on how you offer to solve your prospect‘s problems and concerns, or fulfil their aspirations and dreams.

It’s Your Turn

Do your marketing materials lead with information about your company?

Can your prospects easily answer “what’s in it for me?” without having to sort through all sorts of information that is still irrelevant to them?