Do you ever wonder where the writers for Saturday Night Live get ideas for their skits? How about where the comedians on the show get ideas for their characters?
I think I know.
While I’m writing this post, I’ve already spent an agonizing eight hours sitting in a city council review board. I’m pretty sure most of SNL’s characters and scripts were conceived in a meeting just like this one.
Sure, democracy is messy. And of course, every single person who got up to say their piece had an absolute right to be there. When you ask the public to speak up, you are sending your invitation to an awfully big tent. But geez-oh-petes, if you get lucky enough to score a spot at the dais, don’t you at least have a responsibility to prepare yourself, know what you’re talking about, know whom you’re talking to, and know what they care about?
Most of all, don’t you have a responsibility to think through what you’re going to say?
Especially if you’re there to convince somebody of something. Otherwise, you’re wasting everyone’s time, embarrassing yourself, and possibly even changing people’s minds against your argument.
It’s the same when you decide to create your messaging strategy and how to build your brand. If you have the good fortune to have a potential client read your Facebook post or visit your website or read your other marketing materials, doesn’t it make sense to put your best foot forward? And doesn’t it make even more sense to make sure that you’re talking to your audience about the things that matter most to them, not to you?
I’m sure you’ve given your sales pitch more thought than many of the people I’ve listened to tonight. Those speakers included the woman who accused the entire review board of being Globalists. They included the man who insisted on rereading the long long letter that even he agreed everyone had already read. And the man who used up so much time listing his own professional achievements and awards that he ran over his allotted time slot before he ever finished talking about himself. If the sergeant-of-arms hadn’t stopped him, he’d still be talking.
Regardless of how the review board was treated, it was made up of educated, interested, involved professionals who cared enough about the issues they were discussing to give up their personal time to try to protect the community.
Likewise, your clients and potential client group are made up of vibrant, interested, involved people who care very much about the things they buy and the companies they work with. Or, as famed adman David Ogilvy wrote in his classic, Confessions of an Advertising Man, “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.”
As such, your consumers deserve your best efforts to engage them, entertain them, educate them, and enlighten them.
When this interminably long meeting ends, the city’s review board will make a ruling on the future of the issue in question.
Some of the people in the room will be happy with the decision.
Others, not so much.
Similarly, when you’re done making your pitch to your potential clients, they will also make a decision.
Simply put, they will decide whether to buy from you or to buy from your competition or to not buy anything at all. And based on how well you’ve connected with your audience’s hopes and dreams and their desires and aspirations, some of you will be happy with their purchase decisions.
Others, not so much.