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Tone is Queen

21 May 2012

We all know who really rules the world, right? Yes indeed. Let’s not mess with that one.

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve become rather punch drunk at the amount of content hitting my inbox of late.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love content and I love reading, but crikey, when will it stop?

The answer is, of course, no time soon.

So what’s your point Sean?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Recently I was working in the South Island with a company that I found totally fascinating.  The company and industry will remain nameless of course as they will be easily recognised and my ‘guts would be for garters’ if I spilled the beans.

This family owned business had a most interesting problem; in fact it was one which in 25 years of being involved in high level sales and marketing I have never encountered.

They couldn’t turn off their lead machine. 

That’s right, you heard correctly. They had so many leads coming into the business they were tripping over themselves trying to meet the demand, manufacture equipment and fulfil orders. Without knowing it, these guys had a content marketing engine that was totally ‘kicking it’ in the market. They knew something was working for them but they didn’t quite know what what or why. I knew exactly what it was when I saw it. What a treat that was. I also won’t tell you their secret because, well, it’s a secret.

They didn’t need our usual magic.

Our task then was certainly not our usual dose of Sales Systems magic; rather, we were called on to help them understand where the problems were and how they could fix them. Essentially, they needed to automate their sales processes so they could catch a breath, and only deal with the really hot and immediate stuff.

We call this lead nurturing - but enough of the sales pitch.

I'm telling you this as a segue into the answer to ‘what’s your point Sean?’ You did ask...

Closer to home in the North Island of Aoteoroa, we had a recent assignment which was more of our staple. How to get this small company and its online and offline sales cranking. Ah yes, the good old fun stuff we so enjoy at Sales Systems.

It is here that my Kings and Queens story begins.

Backing the KING and not the QUEENS

This company (which will also remain nameless) was struggling and had tried everything, or so they thought. Email, direct mail, letters, radio, training their sales team in the latest cold calling techniques (Yuck). And, oh yes, they also had them trained (not through us) on ‘how to close the sale harder’ (double yuck). Nothing was working for them. So the call came in to Sales Systems one Thursday afternoon.

"Can you help us?"

Ah yes, the challenge was too great to resist. I was due to head over to the States, and two of my guys were due in Perth, but I arranged a meeting for the following Monday to have a little dig around their business anyway; I couldn’t help myself.

As always, I asked them to send over as much of their sales and marketing material as they could muster so we could start our research and prepare for the meeting. A few hours after receiving their material the following day, it was obvious what the problem was. They had backed the KING all the way and completely forgotten about the QUEENS.

So what exactly does that mean?

Essentially, every piece of sales and marketing material they had pushed into the market was corporate double-speak and ‘psychobabble’ that even I found hard to interpret. It was truly nasty.

I asked their permission to repeat a couple of these examples …..

"We value symbiotic relationships with our clients that translates into win-win scenarios.”

"Our team value your business and we look forward to a long term relationship built on trust and openness.”

"Our latest service offer is of the highest value. We would welcome your inquiry.”

What a load of tripe, right?

Tone and language will set you apart

The above examples were just the tip of the iceberg. Everything in their sales and marketing armoury looked and felt like this. They were not impressed when I told them it was a load of rubbish.

"We have spent good money on that Sean.” 

Their problem was simple but not obvious to them, as they had been ‘knee deep in the double-speak’ for so long. They knew no other language. They were not allowing themselves to think and speak like normal human beings. They had fallen into the not so uncommon trap of believing content - and loads of it - was the KING.

The truth however is simply the opposite. The QUEENS of tone and language rule the world.  Let me explain by re-pithing their examples above.

"We love customers that want a great deal as much as we do.”

"Thanks so much for your business, we are looking forward to seeing you again, doing business, providing you with great deals and awesome service.”

"This month’s deal is simply brilliant and it won’t be repeated (OK, maybe later in the year!). Give us a call or drop us a line, you won’t be disappointed.”

Get real: speak in the tone and language you like to hear

You will not be disappointed and the market will react positively to your new found ‘realness’. They might think you’ve been smoking something for a while but they’ll come round quite quickly, the phones will start ringing and the orders will start flowing.

About Sean McDonald

Sean is the founder and managing director of Sales Systems Ltd. His company and team of consultants help organisations improve the overall effectiveness of their sales and marketing operations through the introduction of new processes, tools and technology to ensure they are operating at peak performance in today’s highly competitive environment.

Sean is a regular contributor to Techday.