Messages should persuade. Effective messages provide information necessary to persuade while allowing for collaboration with the target audience. If done correctly, the message is tailored to the specific needs and aptitude of the audience focusing on what is most important and valuable to them.
Choose the right channel. A common mistake is having a great message but delivering it via the wrong channel—sending an email during a heated discussion when you should make a phone call or leaving a voicemail that may never get checked when a text message would likely be read within minutes.
Be accurate and thorough. I was working with a CEO notorious for responding to emails with short, vague, non-actionable cliches such as “Rock on,” “You’re a rockstar,” and “Boom!” His favorite response was, “You knocked it out of the park!”
As frustrating as his responses were, his intent was to motivate and praise. Unfortunately, he was perceived as lazy in his communication, and he frustrated his people and created confusion, bottlenecks, and uncertainty.
A Closer Look
For purposes of the AMPLIFII formula, a message is verbal, written, or recorded communication that a listener needs to hear and understand from the presenter’s unique perspective. The essential here is unique perspective.
Messages delivered without a frame risk being misinterpreted because they will be heard through the perspective of the listener.
Poorly communicated value propositions lose sales and kill margins by forcing companies into the price-matching game. Miscommunication also results in employee disengagement, lack of productivity, and talent loss too.
A value proposition is the promise of value that a customer can expect a business, product, or person to deliver. Value is determined in the context of the specific identified problem that a business, product, or person solves. A unique value proposition is a solution that your competitors can’t easily replicate, if at all.
Let’s start with the word promise. A promise assumes that the customer believes and trusts you. A powerful story frame can speed up the trust-building process.
Identified problem assumes that you have listened and understand the unique challenge facing the customer (or marketplace). The ability to listen and self-awareness are big advantages in communicating value propositions. The customer may not be aware of the extent of the challenge or the actual cost of not resolving it. Or they may just be in denial.
Last, there are two aspects associated with the word unique. The first is whether your product is actually unique or if it is a commodity. If it isn’t unique, then the challenge is to show your value is greater, which relies heavily on personal connection, trust building, and relationships. That can be achieved more quickly with personal stories and origin stories as well as other stories that connect with your audience.
Many of the clichés we use in a business setting. They are overused, weak value propositions that have no impact when used alone. Some examples include:
▪ World-class service;
▪ My door is always open;
▪ Our culture really sets us apart;
▪ We believe people are our most valuable asset.
All are great ideas but rarely land with impact. The good news is that using clichés can work with a technique known as qualifying the cliché. It’s a simple approach that involves adding one phrase immediately before or after the cliché or even in both places. Let’s break it down.
Let’s look at the approach, “I know this sounds cliché, but we offer our clients ‘world class service.’” Then immediately follow up with, “Now let me explain what we mean by world-class service.” And then begin the story.
There are only three ways to compete or gain a competitive advantage in a marketplace. We define three strategy types as:
- cost leadership,
- differentiation, and
- market segmentation (or focus).