Simple is great. No one has the patience to read pages and pages of sales collateral or sit through long complicated sales presentations. But if you’re really going to simplify your sales message, there are three hard facts you will have to face first:
1. This is no time for you to be the expert. You know too much. So you’re trying to say too much. Stop it. Save your expertise for later in the buyer’s journey when your prospect is asking detailed questions about your solution. Until then, just say enough to make them want more.
2. You will have less to show for all your hard work. Long sales presentations and big thick documents are impressive. They have awesome “plop factor” – showing the world in general and your boss in particular how hard you worked and how much you know. Warn your superiors right now that what’s coming is going to be shorter and simpler than anything they’ve seen before (but it will also be much more effective).
3. You will need to allocate more resources to the effort. Simple always takes longer and costs more. I know. I grew up in ad agencies. It could take days and days of word wrangling just to come up with one simple tagline. It’s easy to create long, rambling communications. Short and sweet requires much more effort and endless iterations. So, plan for it. As one of my partners said this afternoon, “I would’ve written a shorter post, but I didn’t have time.”
Stacy Williams says
Excellent point, John! This is something I’ve been told before, but somehow I continue to be guilty of “more is more”. It is definitely more difficult to be succinct than to be wordy. Thanks for the reminder.
John Reed says
Thanks for the comment, Stacy. It’s a constant struggle for me to keep things short. Sometimes I think we never recovered from all those school assignments where the teacher said, “Your report must be at least three pages long.” Long reports got an “A”, shorter ones didn’t, … and we got the idea that more words meant more value!