Barriers to becoming… – Part 1

30 08 2008

Today I encountered two stories today about the barriers to “Becoming“, or said another way, achieving our God given potential.  One of them was a movie my family and I went to go see called “The Longshots” about a the first girl to play at the Pop Warner Football Superbowl.  It was a great reminder of how we all have talents deep within us and sometimes they are in areas we orginally had no interest in.  We need others around us to help us see our gifts and skills, to call to our attention what we could “Become“.  If we are to “Become” an image of what could be then we need people who believe in us to speak up and then help us to become equipped.  It may not be easy or simple but since when did great things not take great effort.

The other event happened in a conversation with someone close to me, who shall remain nameless.  This friend is someone who is amazing at so many things.  They are intelligent, compassionate and hardworking but they struggle with the way they see themselves.  This person has great talents in an area that affects their life but does not excite them.  What I see and hear are things like, “I’m not good at that” or “I don’t like it” but this is not really the core of the issue.  I can see they are good at it and the more they learn the more they do like it.  These are just red flags that cover up a fear that comes from somewhere in this area and it is this fear that also stands in the way of “Becoming” what we could be.

I know this is vague but I want to talk about this while honering this person.

There are many pieces to “Becoming” our potential in ourlives.  Part of it is having people around us to help us “see” the posibilities and then to help equip us.  Another part is to look at the fears we have and face them.  Either way we need to walk with others to succeed.


The transformation of a client

20 08 2008

So what actually happens for our clients when they come through the door?  What is the transformation they go through between the time they inquire if we can help them and the moment they trust us and believe we can help?

They usually come in not really knowing everything we do.  They are usually feeling and thinking several things in the beginning like, can these people really help?  I don’t know what I really need, can they help me figure it out?  Or maybe they are wondering if we can be trusted and whether or not they can afford this.  They may even be wondering if we are going to take advantage of them because we are in marketing and they aren’t experts in this area. 

They sit down in our conference room and we begin by asking them about themselves and their organization, we begin by listening to their story.  We ask them what they want to accomplish and what they see as their largest obstacles.  We take time to listen to them and their story and we seek to understand them.  We then make sure we heard them correctly before we begin to tell them about ourselves.  The more we understand them the more we know how to respond.  We truly want to help people and we believe that most people can tell if you are being genuine or not.

Once we understand the basics we then share our story and how we think we can help them and their organization.  The ways in which we can help them tell their story more effectively to the people that matter to them.  Sometimes it’s their message and sometimes it’s their name.  Sometimes it’s through their logo and sometimes it’s through their advertising.  We bring simple rules to the forefront and then help them understand how they can consistently apply them to everything. 

It’s all about telling their story consistently and in a clear and compelling way, to the people that matter, in a way that they can hear it.  We use a few specific rules, guidelines and sayings to help us refine this process.

  1. Tell your story and be genuine.
  2. Be consistent with your message everywhere you tell it and in everyway you tell it.
  3. It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear that matters.
  4. People buy from people they like.
  5. Overt Benefits then Features then the Significant difference.
  6. Who are you, what do you do, how do you do it and who are you doing it for?
  7. Don’t market to yourself.

After an hour or two together our potential clients begin to see how we can really help them and some of the benefits from working with us.  After our first real meeting they begin to trust us.  Not all at once but they believe two things about us.  The first is that we are people of character that they can relate to and are likable.  The second is that we are competent at our profession.  Our customers aren’t really sure when it happened but if they look back they realize pretty soon that what they appreciate about us is that we aren’t just selling them a product but we are helping them find their unique story and helping them tell it better.  As one CEO said it,” You listened to me and tried to understand where I was coming from before you tried to give me an answer.  Spending time with you allows me to be creative as well as lift my head up from the day to day activities and look at all the things I know about but rarely get the time to do anything about”.

I guess the short way of describing it is that people really do like to do business in a relational way.  They want to find people that really listen, really care and are competent at what they do. We do that by spending a little time with them and treating them like human beings.

We help people tell their stories well, to the people that need to hear it in a way that they can hear it.  We help them do it consistently, everywhere and in every way.

What I really do for people

20 08 2008

I have been thinking about what it is that my wife and I do in our business that is so unique. 

Since we run a marketing and advertising firm some would say that we offer marketing and advertising advice but that seems too simple.  Since I am in marketing I care about the message, the story that is told.  So indulge me if I try and sort out for myself what our story is….what it is we actually offer our clients.

When a potential client walks through our door they come with concerns and needs.  They come with desires and fears.  They need help with their business or organization.  They need to get more customers or more particpants or more donors or more students… well you get the point, they want more and they think marketing might be the answer.  There are two types of people that come to us. 

The first is looking for some help with their advertising.  Even more to the point they think advertising is what they need.  They think that a new ad in the paper or a T.V. commercial is really what will help get things moving down at the store and they want us to make them one.  These people often don’t know much about advertising and they don’t know what will really help them but they know they need help.  They sometimes say, “I don’t know anything about advertising”  but when you suggest something new they are quick to tell you you’re wrong. 

The second type of person, and these are my favorites, come to us because they know they need some help with their message.  A friend or business associate said that we might be able to help or that we helped them.  These clients, these ideal clients, want help with their message.  They realize that people are confused about what they do or offer.  They realize that if they can clarify who they are and how they communicate then they have a much better chance of getting more customers or more particpants or more donors or more students… well you get the point.  Then we can start to advertise and it might actually work.

I guess what we offer is message counseling.  We do have a couch in our office…