Food for Thought: Your Message Starts with Your Clients’ Tastes

Let’s say you’re looking for a good restaurant, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. You ask a few of your co-workers for suggestions.

The first one says she’s heard about a new place that she’s dying to try, a Japanese restaurant where the chef prepares your meal right at your table with a deft display of knife juggling.

The second tells you about daily deals he’s found on Groupon and encourages you to check out their website.

The third asks you what kind of food you like. When you say you love northern Italian cooking, she tells you about a place she went recently with her husband that has wonderful food. She describes the ambiance—soft candlelight, burgundy linens, stucco walls—the excellent, attentive service, and their delicious Risotto alla Milanese.

Whose advice do you follow?

We All Listen Best to Someone Who Listens to Us
Of course, it all depends on what you’re looking for. If you like to experiment, you might go Japanese. If staying within a budget is your priority, you might check out the daily deals on Groupon.

But chances are you’d go to the Italian restaurant—because it serves your favorite food and your co-worker told you a story about her own dining experience that resonated with your hopes for a perfect birthday celebration.

She made a good suggestion because she took the time to find out more about your tastes. Though you’ve never dined with her, as she shared her story, you could feel the restaurant’s intimate atmosphere and savor each dish. Her thoughtfulness and interest in your needs as well as her personal account of her own good experience engendered trust.

Put Yourself in Your Ideal Client’s Shoes
The same qualities make for effective marketing: a truthful, engaging account from a trusted source about how your product or service meets the anticipated needs of your target audience.

Getting the message right requires that you take the time to understand your ideal client and the problem she’s trying to solve—rather than just talking about what’s most important to you about your business or what you might want to hear.

It also requires a good story about how your business benefits your ideal client on a personal level—told by an unbiased source who can be trusted, someone with whom your client can identify.

And it requires knowing where to find your ideal client and the best way to get her attention. All of this assumes, of course, that you offer excellent products and outstanding customer service.

The best place to start crafting your message? Imagine your ideal client, and put yourself in her shoes. Set aside self-promotion and ask yourself: What problem is she trying to solve and how I can be of help? Be guided by her needs and tastes, and your compelling message will follow.

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