Tips to Effectively Present Your Business Off-Stage
Guest Blogger, Lizabeth Phelps
Last week, I wrote about the leadership tool of energy: that the attitudes and feelings (i.e. energy) that you project as an audience leader are contagious—whatever you’re feeling, they’ll feel.
Early on, participants of my public speaking training “got” that instantly, but then hit a major wall when they went on to work in a larger capacity with me. They soon found out that this tenent was as relevant off-stage, as it was on-stage in how they presented the value of their services to their customers. The energy that they exhibited on-stage when they spoke about their expertise collapsed as soon as I asked them to tell me what their business was, who it served, what it offered, and how it was different from everyone else.
I mean, it collapsed. Perhaps you know what that feels like? How does your energy feel right now as you imagine a prospect asking you, “What do you do?” and your having to answer concisely to keep their interest? Now imagine them looking a little confused, but continuing to question: “What kind of results do you get for people?” Hummanna-hummana. Your throat gets dry and your shoulders slump a bit. Then, finally, they say, “Oh, I met someone last week who does that! How are you different?” You stumble for an answer and when you give it, they nod and smile politely, but you know you aren’t differentiated enough and so you couldn’t say anything that would “stick” in their mind.
What you said, and your business itself, isn’t “Brain-Sticky”—compelling, memorable and original. This is what my public speaking students soon discovered, and I immediately introduced a new program to address this epidemic problem. The brain needs to be as engaged off-the-stage, as it does on-stage. And any business owner needs to conquer off-stage messaging long before they start to offer presentations and programs. That’s why in the work I do now, everyone starts at Phase 1.
So, how can you turn around “Brain-Antagonistic” communication to your prospects—stumbling, airy, vague, boring and me-too language that fails to convey how good you are?
Well, just as writing can only be as good as the thinking behind it—what you say about your business is only as good as the thinking you’ve done; the strategic thinking. And it all begins with your target market. Your business IS your target market, if you are a service professional, because all of your offerings will be tailored for that market—and so will all of your marketing copy and selling language. If you change markets, you change your offerings and you change how you speak about what you do. You change businesses. If you don’t have a market and you’re trying to be everything to everybody—you don’t have a business. It just won’t get off the ground.
So, it all begins with whom you are serving. When you know that, your thinking starts to get very focused because you know that market’s specific needs and desires, and you can 1) design offerings for them that are Brain-Sticky just because they’re tailor-made for them; and 2) talk to or about them so specifically that your Brain-Sticky silver-tongue prowess can finally manifest. You will always stumble in your articulation if you are speaking to too broad of a market.
What comes after that, to improve how you speak about your business? Well, as I just suggested, you have to know what your market wants: what they would pay anything to have, learn or be. What do they urgently want? You need to build programs entirely from that understanding—and then you need to be able to talk about what they urgently want and how you solve it. If you do not offer something that gives them what they urgently want, you will sound Brain-Antagonistic (boring and irrelevant) to their ears, and you won’t make a sale. So, next stop: what do they want more than anything?
Then, you need to know what you believe, to your core, is the single thing they need to do to get what they most urgently want. And you must know that in a single-sentence, and be able to relate it whenever you’re speaking about your business:
I help mothers of newborns who desperately want to breastfeed but are having pain and other complications. I know that the only thing they need is to sing to their baby specific melodies in G-Minor and their infant will be put into a receptive trance.
Of course, I made that up. LOL. But do you see how Brain-Sticky it is? In this example, the business owner is speaking to a very narrow market, expressing what they urgently want, the problem they have, and then they tease them with a single-sentence “thesis” about what they need in order to get what they want most.
Your entire business rests on this thesis and it’s one of the very first things I help my clients create. It’s essential to determine you target market first and all of the psychological examination into it, and then the Business Thesis.
I’ll share what comes next in the post next week. It is the third essential step to building a business empire of marketable programs and products. And if you’re interested in changing the world with your business, more than anything, you need this step. So, stay tuned!
Lizabeth Phelps is founder of Inspired Leaders’ Academy, the definitive business school for visionary entrepreneurs changing the world. Find out why you, as such a visionary, are in a different business from everyone else, and how you must do business differently, in a free 4-part video training series at www.inspiredleadersacademy.com.
Comment from Lisa:
Lizabeth is so right on with this. As I've said in past blogs, you've got to know your target market before you start any marketing efforts. If not, you'll waste time and money, and end up frustrated and disappointed.
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