We all know somebody who only talks about themself. It’s a character trait that is less than endearing, and I see it manifest itself too often in the world of branding.
Think about your experiences with LinkedIn. It’s likely that you’ve been approached by someone you’ve never met trying to make a connection, and as soon as you agree to accept their request…BOOM…a solicitation. Your new friend starts telling you about what they are selling and why they think it can help you (even though they’ve never asked you any questions or tried to learn about your business or your goals).
Think of how risky that would be at the doctor’s office. Not one question or test, but you’ve been given a prescription or wheeled into surgery. As one of my sales mentors used to tell me: “Good questions are the foundation of good strategy.” Good questions provide salespeople with a clear vision of what success looks like for their customer.
Engineering firms and systems integration companies are filled with smart people that deal every day with issues that the average person would not understand. As they work to build their brands, these businesses often get caught up talking about:
- The services they provide
- The industries they serve
- The software they use
- Their expertise
- Their process
While it’s important to clarify what you do and how you do it, those things are table stakes. If companies don’t provide those items, they are not even being considered. In other words, focusing your marketing messages on yourself tends to be seller-centric rather than customer-centric.
At their core, I believe engineering firms and systems integrators sell successful project outcomes. When I worked in the industrial liquid-filling equipment industry as a project manager, our customers were only interested in four things:
- That their project was on time
- That their project was under budget
- That the production line worked as expected
- That the cost savings provided a measurable, documentable ROI
They didn’t care about what we were selling, they cared about the outcome of the project. As an engineering firm or systems integration provider, this needs to be part of your brand story.
Helping your salespeople talk about successful project outcomes can help with your business development efforts. When it gets down to two companies vying for a project, and the customer asks “why should I pick you over your competitor?” what do you say? Do you talk about your own company, or do you ask them about their vision of a successful project?
When you lead by listening, you become the person in the room that everybody wants to talk to. Just think how that could benefit your business.
Interested in sharing your branding challenges? I’d love to hear them. Give me a call or drop me a line.