It Can Really Pay to Bounce Ideas Off People

Sometimes you gotta bounce ideas around

If you have an interest in ‘positioning’ and how to present value to a prospect, you might like this story.

Recently I took a videographer to lunch.

We had just finished a half day of filming some video tips for a project I am working on.

Over home-made quiche and salad with great coffee – at my favourite cafe – we got chatting.

And my camera guy- let’s call him Ben – told me about a video job he was hoping to do for a local business.

He handed me his phone and asked me to take a look at an exchange of messages between himself and the prospect – and said: “Gary, what do you think?”

The prospect was a local bar owner.

They wanted to get more people in, drum up more trade. As you do.

Ben is a drone camera operator and the bar owner was really keen to get a little video made with aerial footage, to promote their place to potential punters.

But the prospect said they only had a very limited budget.

And so there had been a small exchange of text messages.

Here is the feedback I gave Ben.

  • Don’t continue the conversation via text – arrange a face-to-face meeting.
  • Don’t talk about price over the phone
  • At the meeting, listen (and don’t jump in with a ‘solution’
  • Present the VALUE of what you do to the prospective client…
  • … then talk price
  • If the prospective client prefers an option you don’t – explain why your option is better for them
  • If you’re going to cut a discount deal on the price – get something back in return 
  • You don’t have to present EVERYTHING at the meeting – you can put together a proposal AFTER the conversation.

And here’s why I gave that feedback.

Text messaging is handy for introductions and an initial exchange (especially if it’s how you have been introduced by a mutual friend – which was the case here).

But it’s better to conduct the ‘business’ face to face or (if that is genuinely ‘impossible’) over the phone or via Zoom or Skype.

Because then you can find out more about the client and they can see who you are for themselves.

People like doing business with people..

I know it’s an old saying, a bit of a cliche now. But it’s true.

Do you prefer chatting with a friend over the phone or do you prefer meeting up for a chinwag over coffee, brunch, lunch or drinks?

Most people prefer the latter.

It’s also easier to communicate what you both want to say – with authenticity and accuracy.

With text, the message can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

When someone says “Give me a ballpark” figure it’s tempting to offer one. Usually it’s better to avoid doing that.

You could ask them “When you say you want a ballpark figure, do you have a specific budget in mind?”

That way you lead and control the situation.

It allows you find out if they are ‘serious, likely to be a good fit and whether they can afford you.

It’s also helpful for the prospect because it saves them wasting time on a non-starter.

If people have time to play text message ‘ping-pong’ they have time to meet. And if people REALLY want something they will find the time to do it.

That’s been my experience and it may be the same for you.

During the meeting, I recommend you spend 80 per cent of the time simply listening.

What is the client saying. What are they NOT saying.

What are their challenges or issues? What are they looking for? Do they know what they want you to do?

The temptation is to ‘dive in’ and offer a solution there and then.

Resist. Resist. Resist.

When you have gathered the information you need from your questions, listening and observation you are then ready to talk.

Summarise what they have said. Demonstrate you have understood their problem.

You could provide your solution (or range of options) then – or you can say you will put together a proposal and get them back to them within a given time.

If you’re going to present a solution, talk about the value of it to the client.

What outcome can they expect? What result? How will this change their life or business?

What is the bigger picture you can paint for them?

And if there are several options and the client prefers the one you think is least best… explain why your choice is better.

If you’re offering a discount, say why.

And grab the opportunity to ask for a glowing testimonial (as part of the deal) if you do a great job.

Ben is a camera guy. He has very little knowledge of marketing.

He knows what he knows.

We finished our lunch with him saying he would arrange a meeting with his bar prospect.

He left with plenty of food for thought about his business.

Positioning is not just about your message. It’s about how you operate. How you do things.

Easy to forget when your mind is elsewhere.


P.S. The conversation with Ben was not so different from the 60-minute marketing and copy consultation sessions I offer small business owners and entrepreneurs.

An opportunity to get feedback on your copy; get clarity about your message; bounce ideas around to create something fresh, exciting or new; or discover some neat little copy tricks or tactics to make your marketing work better.

You can book me for one session or invest in a pack of sessions (the more you book at one time, the bigger your saving).

The prices are going up on 1st January 2020 because the consistent value to clients merits it…

… But if you invest between now and end of December you can tap into my copywriting and creative brain for the current very fruitful, fun and productive fee.

It will still be great value in 2020 (but why pay more for the same if you can help it?… and, if you select a pack of three or more sessions, you can carry over remaining sessions into 2020).

I don’t usually have a set price menu for my services – this is a rare exception.

If you’d like the price menu PDF (which also tells you how it wall works) you can: Get in touch via the website.

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