Paint a propositional picture

William Sidney Mount [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m prompted to put digital pen to digital paper by a challenge surfaced recently by a couple of valued but disparate clients, but in truth this is a conversation which pops up on a pretty regular basis.

Both asked for our help in addressing what one might think would be a pretty basic business task, described, by them, in terms such as “defining our unique go to market proposition” or articulating our differentiated client value offering”. Can you see the problem?
Personally I’d prefer to describe the task as “showing clients what you can do for them
But that seems a bit simple, after all we’re really clever people, we need to show just how clever to potential clients, so we tend to use big words, lots of them, and we find ourselves unable to agree internally on which big words we should use.
Even if we can agree on the words, even if we invest valuable time in producing collateral it’s typically ‘thoughtpieces’, ‘white-papers’, ‘position pieces’ and frankly it’s really hard to get busy clients and prospects to find the time for us to share these world-changing truths with them.
Time is precious, attention spans are short and getting shorter, it’s hard to grab attention, let alone keep it long enough to explain something really complicated.
So what’s the alternative?
Well, let’s make it simple…
Don’t spend a day workshopping a new market-changing paradigm with your brightest and best, instead…
  1. Choose a client engagement that went really well
  2. Tell us what you did, we’ll question you all the way back to simple.
  3. Tell us why you did it, again we’ll question you back to simple.
  4. Tell us what the result was, for the client, firstly in financial terms, (if you can’t do that, no-one will give you the time of day), next identify the side effects, the “unquantifiable benefits”
  5. Then we turn that into a storyboard, 6 or 7 slides, minimal words, powerful graphics, understandable, linear, a story, that all can tell, all can agree upon, and all can understand.

That’s it, we’re not trying to change the world, we’re grabbing attention, we’re not explaining every aspect of our paradigm-shifting approach, we’re creating just enough interest to get the permission to have a conversation.

Get the picture?

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