We like watching Shark Tank. It’s the hit reality TV show where entrepreneurs seek investments from The Sharks, a panel of highly successful, self-made moguls who put their own money into ideas or people who show the promise of a big ROI.
You can learn a lot about selling your ideas from watching the show. You have to convey your potential with a good show-and-tell and demonstrate its viability with good numbers. Parade Magazine recently published an inside view of the show, including thumbnail profiles of each Shark. Each profile had a “Hot Tip for Tankers,” and Barbara Corcoran’s got right to the heart of PR and marketing communications issue.
Her tip was very simple: “Use clear language so we know what your business is about.”
It’s such a basic message, but it goes unheeded much more often than not. I see so many news releases, websites and other pieces of writing that cry out for a simple statement that essentially says: “Our product (or service) does this for you.” They get so caught up in providing suites of solutions with arrays of tools and ranges of capabilities that they somehow bury what they do and how it benefits their customers or clients.
I always hear that people don’t have time to read. I don’t buy that. People do have time to read; they just don’t have the time to make every sentence a treasure hunt for what your business does for them.
That’s the lesson from Shark Barbara. Make sure you have a straightforward explanation – right at the top – of what your product or service does. Tell prospective customers the problem it solves and the benefits they’ll get. Everything else is commentary.