At its core, marketing is about communication, about sending a message.
But what makes communication work? What DO you talk about?
Imagine this: You're at a networking meeting chatting to someone you haven't met before. What's your natural tendency? Like mine, it's probably to start talking about what you do, the services you offer, the great results you've produced for your clients, and on and on.
This is all well and good. But sooner or later (probably sooner) you'll encounter what I call "the glazed-eye syndrome." That's when you notice that your conversation partner's attention is no longer on you. Their eyes are looking over your shoulder, wandering around the room, waiting for an opportunity to escape from you. And that heightens the tendency to keep talking about yourself in an attempt to keep them there, when what you're really doing is driving them away even more quickly.
Listening to you talk about you is not important to your prospects. What's important is talking about them, asking questions that show you're interested in their business. This is how you find out what's going on with them, and if there's a way you can help.
Once you've found out about them, you can ask for a business card and, after the meeting, send them some useful information. At this point you can also direct them to your website to find out more about your services.
Now you have a solid basis to follow up on. But again, make it about them. People want to be understood. Continue to ask questions to find out what kind of problems they're up against. That's where your services can help, but you can't let them know what you can do for them, until you know what they're dealing with.
Add into the mix that most of us are starved of appreciation and acknowledgement. Include those in your conversation too - but make sure it's sincere. Put all these elements together and you'll have a conversation that leaves the other person feeling cared for, and thinking that perhaps you have a solution for their problems.
Now you can take the next step in your sales process, whatever that may be.
Turn things around. Resist the temptation to talk about you. Make the other person the center of the conversation and you'll be amazed at how much easier and more effective your marketing will become.