Lost In Translation

Carryin bag

Repetition doesn’t lead to persuasion.

You have a great product or service. Or both. You need to get the word out so you hire a bunch of paid evangelists and plop them down all around the country. I will save you the search for the orange bottles in your top drawer by not mentioning  the costs to hire, train, move, provide vehicles, create marketing materials and all the other essentials that goes into the care and feeding of your herd lest you hit the employee retention wall.

The training consists of the technical, the strategic and the interactive components that bring home the bacon. A few years ago, a company I covered for a national sales meeting event focused on “storytelling” as a tool for success. The big hot button book that year was “Tell To Win” by Peter Guber. Imagine having to show a seasoned sales rep how to tell a story. Talk about preaching to the choir. Pass the bong, please.

If you ask any Big Pharma rep how their last call went, they’ll give you the most incredible description of a successful call you’ve ever heard. It’s the nature of the game. Management wants to hear a good story and the rep will always comply. In spades.

Both sides are complicit. But that doesn’t advance your product/service. Someone needs to get their story straight and unfortunately for you, you’re not in the room when the pitch goes down. I’ve seen a Cardiolite answer to an I.V. Persantine question. Given today’s technology, I’m betting that would never happen. (Again)

As I have often mentioned before, I was still in the field when Dupont decided to combine medical imaging reps with Coumadin reps in an effort to carpet bomb the country with Cardiolite sales. They had so many reps they had to carve my territory into pieces. Instead of three states, I now had three streets.

Like ants at a picnic, they were everywhere providing much needed unintentional laughs for my splintered customer base. Recently visited customers would call my house at night and we would howl. Then I would cry.

These reps would stand in the hallway with their cornered prey and recite directly off the package insert like they were reading the Preamble to the Constitution.

Those stick ups would end up as an evening voice mail by their manager as a “success story.” A “Bravo Award” would soon be on it’s way.

I always thought it would be cool to be feel smarter, sharper, more in the loop, more savvy, conscious, technically proficient, relevant, have a bigger world view and up to snuff than some of the companies you interview with, for either a consulting gig or a full time job but the sad truth is, it’s not.

It has a curiously sad, pathetic, bewildering, repetitive and disappointing effect that tells me if I can feel so far ahead, I may as well be behind. I’m sure they would beg to differ. 🙂

I’ll leave you with this: You, as a stake holder, owner, CEO or product manager, need to create on-line messaging that ensures your customers (completely) understand all the features and benefits of your offering beyond what your reps have the reach and frequency to do. They need to know you, or feel they do, personally. Trust.

All this can be achieved with today’s technology. but it won’t ever swing if it don’t have that thing. That would be you. Warm up to the camera, blog, tweet (Facebook, not so much) and transfer that much needed passion and empathy to an audience who would be delighted in knowing “why” you are doing what you’re doing.

As Seth Godin once wrote in Small is the New Big, you can be big but still provide that small, intimate and might I add, consistent experience.







Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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