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Your Side Benefit Might Be Your Audience’s Main Benefit

This post was written by Dan Cooney, Director of Business Development at The Latimer Group.

We were recently coaching a talented systems and operations manager (“Mike”) who previewed a presentation he was about to give on the importance of merging contact records in Salesforce for the sake of data hygiene. The intended audience for this presentation was the customer service team, who Mike needed to buy-in and participate in the project.

The company’s largest customers were distributors, and they were buying the product nationwide. The problem was that multiple buyer contact records were being created individually in Orlando, Nashville, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, etc. so a single buyer had five or more contact records.

Mike had created a strong presentation – his slides were engaging, and he had created entertaining fictitious characters, billybuyer@abc.com and sallybuyer@abc.com, that provided his audience concrete examples of how multiple customer records made life miserable from an operations perspective. 

He also delivered the presentation well. The old database adage “garbage in, garbage out” was broadly understood, so as a coach, I thought his audience would clearly understand the problem. Achieving clarity is job #1, but if you want to be persuasive, you can’t stop there. Mike needed to move his audience to CARE enough to devote time and energy to the project.  

When we started the coaching session after his talk, I asked him what the most important result would be if his recommended project was approved. 

Without hesitation, Mike  immediately said, “cleaner data.” I let it sit there for a moment and then asked him, “Any other benefits?” He said, “Well, there’s the side benefit of a happier customer as our reps don’t have to try to sort through five records to bring up the relevant information during a service call.” 

BINGO – his main benefit was a cleaner database, but to the customer service team, what mattered most was happier customers, easier phone interactions, and improved customer service survey scores.  

Mike knew that by re-focusing his presentation on the benefits to the customer service team, the presentation would become more persuasive AND he would get the cleaner date he was after in the first place.

I told him, it’s often the case that a side benefit from your perspective may be the main benefit from the perspective of your audience. 

When it comes to purposeful communications that get results, lead with the benefit most relevant to the audience.  

Have a Persuasive Day!

At The Latimer Group, we believe that great communication skills can change the world. We transform people and organizations with simple, repeatable techniques and mindsets. We teach persuasive communication skills through an integrated platform of corporate training, coaching, and eLearning. To learn more about how we can transform your organization, e-mail us at info@TheLatimerGroup.com

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