If you’re reading this article you probably have some kind of very complicated product or service you’re trying to market and sell. Most likely it’s a hard-to-understand financial product or AI-based service. When people ask you what you do at parties, you are used to seeing eyes glaze over accompanied by polite nods. When you’re in front of clients you spend a ton of time just trying to explain what your product does. And by the time you’re done with that, the meeting is over, and your prospect needs to “do some more research.”
This is all because your message isn’t simple enough. So here are 5 ways to simplify your sales messages into a relatable, effective, and engaging pitch that will have prospects drooling to do business with you.
#1 – Use an analogy
One of the best ways to simplify your message is to develop a really memorable metaphor that illustrates either your client’s problem, your solution, or both!
Take, for example, this commercial for eToro, an online broker that doesn’t charge commission.
They take the somewhat complicated, bland sales message, “Are you still paying commissions for your trades? Invest in stocks at eToro – without paying commission,” and turn it into a clever metaphor, “Paying commissions on trades is the same as someone taking a bite out of a donut you paid for.” The analogy distills the sales message into a very easy to understand message for almost anyone to understand.
Here’s another example of how an analogy can simplify a complicated sales message. Which explanation of anti-virus software is easier to understand?
Version A: Our anti-virus software scans your computer for viruses, malware, worms, and trojans. If the software detects malicious code in your device, it will pull malware definitions from the cloud to neutralize the threat.
Version B: Our anti-virus software is like a checkup for your computer. If your computer is sick, our software will automatically treat and remove the virus.
You may already have a analogy you use to explain your complicated product or service. But you’re using it after you spend a lot of time describing what your product’s features and benefits are. Start leading with the analogy, then following it up with more detailed features and benefits sans analogy. You’ll notice higher engagement.
#2 – Effective sales messages tell a small story
Whenever Don Hewitt, the legendary creator of 60 Minutes, was asked about the secret to the program’s success, he answered with four words: Tell me a story. Hewitt said 60 Minutes doesn’t do stories about issues; it does stories about the people who are swept up in them.
He said, “Even the people who wrote the Bible were smart enough to know: ‘Tell them a story.’ The issue was evil in the world. The story was Noah.”
So, what do you do? Pull a page from 60 Minutes’ playbook. Tell a small story about a big issue.
Instead of making a 3-5 minute video about all of your product’s features and benefits, tell a 1-2 minute story where your product or service is being used. In most cases, showing your audience a use-case is way more effective than listing out facts and figures. Your story will cut through their analytical brain and appeal more towards their emotional brain. They’ll actually want to see how the story ends (read: watch to the end of the video where your call-to-action is conveniently located)!
#3 – Speak to your customer’s internal problem
Let’s continue with the anti-virus example.
Yes, your anti-virus software removes viruses from your customers’ computers. That’s the benefit. But we can go one level deeper. Why don’t your hypothetical customers want viruses? Let’s list a few of them out:
- They have sensitive data that, if leaked, would be disastrous for them.
- They need their computer in tip-top shape because they use it for work. And if it’s not working properly, they could lose their job.
- They hate the feeling of being a victim. They want to be protected to feel safe.
As you can see, these customers have many different internal reasons why they don’t want computer viruses. Here’s where knowing your audience is critical. Because with the right data about your audience persona, you can make a highly targeted video aimed at your target customers’ internal problems. The empathy you demonstrate will earn your prospects’ trust, way beyond your competitors that are all talking about their features.
#4 – Sell the outcome, not the process
Guess what? Your clients are not buying your product or service. They are buying what it can do for them.
Ok, while this is cliché and well known, it bears repeating—sell the sizzle, not the steak. So many times you are caught in your day-to-day and forget that clients really don’t care about any of the cool stuff you do. They only care about it working and making them look good.
For example, if we use the anti-virus software example again: your clients don’t care about how your software detects the malicious code, they just care about making their computer better. You may have the best detection algorithm on the planet but no one cares about the algorithm itself, they just care that the software now finds viruses 2 times quicker.
When you find yourself talking about your features, try to remember clients don’t really care. They only care about what the features do for them.
#5 – Stop trying to be cute
Sometimes you just need to take a very straight-forward approach. What does your product or service do in the plainest of language? Forget the flowery descriptions and attempts to be overly clever.
Sometimes “I make smiles” is harder to understand than, “I’m a dentist.”
We don’t recommend building an entire video campaign with plain language. But this is a good reminder to not over-think things. Don’t get in your own way trying to do what all of the business books tell you to do. Sometimes it’s the folks that can say what they do in the fewest of words that win big.
Bonus – Test with strangers
Not sure if you’ve successfully simplified your sales message? Test it with strangers – NOT family members. Strangers are best for testing because a) they don’t care about hurting your feelings and b) they have no base of knowledge so they’re coming in cold just like your prospects are.
After showing your script, storyboard or first cut of video, ask questions like:
- Tell me about the problem we solve?
- What do we do for our customers?
- What is this piece trying to tell you?
- What was the most confusing part?
- What was the least confusing part?
We’re not asking, “would you buy from us?” because the odds that these random strangers need your product are very low. We simply want to test if the message is being transmitted.
When crafting a sales video that works, it’s important to focus on the significant few, not the important many. Keep it simple, silly! Stay strong and resist the urge to throw everything in. Think about those billboards on the interstate that try to say so much, you don’t even know where to start. You don’t want your sales video to overload or worst of all, confuse your audience. You want to simply move them to the next step in your sales process.