August 22, 2022

Conversation Mistakes That Cost Companies Business

Conversations impact business opportunities, such as when introducing yourself at a meeting or when networking. Yet, due to a weak grasp of brand messaging, many people fail to describe their company accurately (or at all) when meeting others who could be great prospects or referral sources. The secret is simply knowing what to say.

Follow these essential tips – and note the near-cautionary tale from one of our clients – to ensure that you and your team are ready to share key points about your company (and yourselves) that spark interest, continue conversations and drive business.

Begin With Substance

When introducing yourself, you make an important first impression about yourself and your company. It’s a chance to communicate critical information that will entice others to continue the conversation.

Imagine that you’re at a networking event with leaders from different industries.

Scenario 1

“Hi, I’m Alyssa Gelbard, CEO of Point Road Group.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m John Doe, CHRO of ABC Company.”

Each person has a little information about the other’s role, but nothing about their company. A typical follow-up question in this scenario would be, “So, what is [your company]?” It’s not a bad initial exchange, but it could be improved with a bit more information up front. This makes a better first impression and enables the other party to ask a better question about the company (or you) sooner.

Scenario 2

“Hi, I’m Alyssa Gelbard, CEO of Point Road Group; we’re a unique branding firm that helps companies make better brand impressions through their people."

“Nice to meet you. I’m John Doe, CHRO of ABC Company; we provide payment processing software for eCommerce websites.”

In this version, each person immediately gains a topline understanding of who the other person is and what their company does. The added detail sets the stage for a richer conversation, such as about the problems they can help each other solve or introductions they can facilitate.

Since a goal of any networking conversation is to drive connection and lay the groundwork for additional communication, include relevant details whenever you know even just a tiny bit about the other person or their company. For example, referencing industry -- “We work primarily with real estate and tech companies,” or revenue, “We work with companies $5M to $100M.” A few additional words can spark that critical connection.

Be Current & Consistent

Have your company’s services, target clients or areas of emphasis evolved over time, but your team still uses old messaging? This creates confusion, which can be highly problematic during the sales cycle.

Imagine you meet someone who has already heard (or read about) your company from a colleague, company website, LinkedIn etc., and now they want to learn more from you. If you talk about the company in a completely different, outdated way than the person initially learned, you undermine the business potential.

We've worked with a variety of companies struggling to get their team on the same page with brand messaging and how to communicate it.

An insurance company came to us because their new customer told them that they almost went with a competitor due to uncertainty about our client’s real expertise. How did this happen? Each person the customer met with during the sales process emphasized different areas of focus. Without a clear and consistent message, the customer wondered: what does this company really specialize in and is it what we need or not?

Our client faced a common problem among growing companies. Their priorities and business lines had changed, but each team member was stuck on the areas that were most important when they joined the company vs. present offerings. Lacking a unified message about their expertise weakened the impression they made on the prospect -- and it almost cost them the business.

How did we fix this problem? Taking the client through a 3-phase process, we:

  1. Clarified the offerings they wanted to focus on as well as their target customers, recruitment goals and company culture;
  2. Updated brand messaging to reflect these findings and ensure its consistent application across marketing and sales assets;
  3. Introduced the new messaging to employees and led training to get the team “on brand," including specific examples of where and how to incorporate the new way of talking about the company.

In phase three, we augmented team training with individualized coaching for those most involved with prospects. This gave an extra edge to already strong staff and boosted the confidence of the less experienced team members in delivering new company messaging.

The client team became great brand ambassadors and never lost business to inconsistent messaging again.

Don’t Forget About Your Brand -- Or Brand Ambassadors

Inconsistent communication about a company’s specialty and target customers often occurs in faster growing companies and those that have gone through transformation or M&A because of how rapidly the business evolves and their needed focus on operations, infrastructure and teams. It's easy to forget about brand messaging and what employees should emphasize when speaking or writing about the company, yet it’s a critical part of what drives business in the first place. If this is happening at your company, get ahead of it now so you don’t lose any (more) business.

As the faces of your brand, employees are positioned to share critical information about your company every day. When they skip key points about the company and their role in it, or conflate old brand messaging with new, they miss the opportunity to spark interest among potential referral sources, prospects and even talent.

Remember, a few words can make all the difference in what resonates (or doesn’t) with others. Empowering your team to talk about the company with clarity and accuracy is a must for business.

Contact us for help getting your team up-to-speed with brand messaging.


Related Resources

How Employee Brand Advocacy Helps Your Company (& How To Get Started)

The Secret To Better Networking: How You Introduce Yourself

Reach More Prospects & Talent On LinkedIn By Tackling 3 Common Challenges

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