Why Words Matter

Lame words are powerful, too.

Words represent powerful ideas, whether we mean for them to or not. We might as well be intentional.

Zig Zigler said, “be a meaningful specific, not a wandering generality”. The words we use to represent ourselves and our businesses are much more important than we usually think.

WORDS ARE ALWAYS POWERFUL, even when we think they are badly formed. If the way you talk about your business is “lame” or “weak”, that is incredibly powerful in driving people away or causing them to simply look right past you. If your words are gripping, they are powerful in drawing people into a conversation with you to find out if there is a fit.

Here’s how John Marshall of My Green Parachute found the company’s powerful story (one sentence) in a group session we call FasTrak, where we focus on narrowing your identity. Objective – so people have a handle to carry you around easily.

Fastrak showed me that our company was lacking a simple identity. As a result we had been talking to the wrong people in the wrong way for 2+ years. We immediately trimmed our sales staff and coaches, fired our national sales manager and since the launch of our new identity we have had over 500+ registrations, which include entire offices that want to participate across the country.

I loved how simple this was. I have learned an entire new business model and transformed a national business that had been on the brink of shuttering its doors before it could ever get off the ground because it did not realize its own purpose for existence.

Do you have a simple, powerful message that makes you a “meaningful specific”, or are you another “wandering generality” who thinks they can just start talking and people will eventually get it?

Here are a few ideas on the “how”:

  1. Resist the temptation to be everything to everyone. The narrower you identity yourself the better. A local guy here was an interior woodworker who decided to focus solely on stairs rails and built a $2.4 million business with 14 employees. I have dozens of stories like this. I dare you to go narrow – you’ll make a lot more money in a lot less time.
  2. Don’t talk about what you do. Nobody cares. Talk about the OUTCOME for your customer – the result expressed emotionally. If they like they outcome, they’ll ask you what you do to get them that outcome.
  3. Say it simply. Stop using business words. They’re boring and pretentious. Talk to me like a human being. People don’t buy from companies, they buy from people.
  4. Say it in a very few words.
  5. Make it so graphic and clear that anybody can easily remember it and pass it on. If you’re the only one who can explain what you do, you’re dead in the water. Movements are created by simple, viral messages that everyone can carry to the next person. Business “gurus” will have you running in circles creating a complex and incredibly impressive offering. And nobody will buy it.
  6. Ask your customers, “What are you buying that you don’t even think I know I’m selling?” The answer will reduce your blabbing.

Words are powerful either way. You might as well get them working for you instead of against you. Know who you are and how to tell others in one sentence.

John’s story is a good start. I’d love to hear how finding your few words that matter helped your biz, too.