“Hi, my name is Neil Gordon and I help businesses create their company story.” That is my 10-second hook. It is what I say when I introduce myself at a networking event, a seminar or a trade show. I hope to hear back: “Oh, that’s interesting, tell me more”.
In the business of custom window coverings, we start off selling a service, which then turns into a product on the day of installation. That is why expectations are so high. Because we are offering an intangible—a service—we must initially sell ourselves. Our success is based on our ability to connect with our prospects, to build up trust and to create a rapport.
The most effective marketing strategies are those that focus on direct contact, networking and referral building. The question is how do we create awareness to tell the world that we exist? How do we stand apart from the competition? How do we remain top-of-mind so when our ideal client or referral partner has a need for window coverings, they think of us?
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
The challenges are many; the strategies are few. You first must create a company story. The company story is a marketing strategy. It is a way of attaching an exciting message to a target market so they remember you. Stories are powerful tools in making an impression. The passing of information is bland and forgettable.
The story starts with your 10-second hook. When you introduce yourself do you say, “Hi, my name is Neil Gordon and I sell window treatments”? Boring! How about trying, “Hi, my name is Neil Gordon and I dress naked windows.”
Creating a company story revolves around getting people to take notice of you. This story is based in any particular aspect of your business that you want to promote at the time. Maybe it’s automation or yachts? How about kids’ rooms or solar control? Once you have a story to tell, many other aspects of your marketing efforts fall into place.
Let’s use an example of automation or motorization as an example. Your 10-Second Hook could be: “Hi, my name is Neil Gordon and I do smart homes.”
This introduction will almost always get the desired reply: “What’s a smart home?”
This is your chance then to go into your 30-second commercial and describe what a smart home is and how you specialize in this fascinating area.
Please take note that this is not a specialty, but a marketing strategy. You can have several of these strategies going on simultaneously depending on whom you are speaking to. If you are speaking to a room full of men, the smart home story works well. If your audience or target market is young woman, maybe you want to offer a strategy of focusing on baby rooms?
Once you have established a great hook, then you can use your 30-second commercial at networking events when you get to speak about your company. The 30-second commercial is a more in-depth explanation of your marketing strategy. You should practice your 30-second commercial and not leave it to the last minute and expect to come up with some clever words.
The ripple effects are great using this company story idea. Also, you can send out press releases, create presentations, write articles and get published because you have an interesting story to tell.
Why be boring when you can be: The Green Decorator, The Nursery Designer, The Solar Man or The Color Guru?
Neil Gordon is the founder of The WCU Online and The Designer’s Coach. He also owns Decorating with Fabric, a window coverings business and workroom in New York. Gordon is the national director of design for Exciting Windows! and serves on the board of directors for the Interior Design Society. He can be reached at: email@example.com His Web sites are: www.thedesignerscoach.com; www.thewcu.com; www.decoratingwithfabric.com; www.dwfcontract.com; www.draperyinstallers.com