April 21, 2018

Column from Florida Trend's Business Coach

How to get the greatest response from your target audience

Ron Stein | 4/2/2012

Existing customers love your solutions and tell you how great they are all the time. Yet, sales growth has stalled.

Is it the economy or maybe a new competitor? Perhaps your website and promotional material could use some eye-popping graphics. It could be that your offer needs a bit of tweaking.

All you know is that new prospects don’t get excited, and you’re not receiving the amount of inquiries you expected from your website. You feel as if your company is invisible.

If a product or service that should be in high demand is not selling well, there is a reason. But, it’s not what you think -- more than likely the blame rests with the words that are used. Much more than grandiose prose though; you need words that result in the greatest response from your targeted audience.

With a handful of simple, yet powerful common sense rules, your conversations and literature will be like a magnet, attracting new customers to your business.

  1. Focus on one message and one market at a time. It’s hard to be all things to all people. If you try to appeal to a wide audience, your message becomes diluted and target prospects will end up confused when you’re not focused on them. Tell your target, "We work with these kind of people, with this kind of problem, who want this kind of result." If you have several solutions that in fact go after different markets, it’s necessary to have a message and standalone material for each;
  2. The most powerful and effective marketing is 1-to-1. Marketing and sales people tend to put too much emphasis on their product and the market, yet the most important element is the person ready to buy right now. Write as if your ideal customer is standing in front of you and you’re having a conversation with them;
  3. Use transition phrases between a problem oriented statement and a solution oriented assertion: “It doesn’t have to be that way” -- “It doesn’t have to be that difficult” -- “You don’t need to suffer with this a single day longer” -- "Imagine . . .” then say “as a result” or “which means that” to quantify the advantages to show that you can help them overcome the challenge your prospect is facing.
  4. Put emotion into all of your writing. Emotion is what makes marketing work! Use feeling words like "frustrated" (the emotional cost of the problem) when talking about your reader’s issues. Make sure the outcome is the mirror image of the problem and reflects how they’ll feel when the problem is solved -- the emotional benefit;
  5. Sell results, not processes or features. Write (and speak) about outcomes that actually mean something to your prospective customers.

Focus on the reader or person you’re speaking with. And only the people that have a problem that you can solve. Instead of diving into features and benefits, stress the value your product or service -- how the features specifically benefit the person, appealing to identifiable buyer motives.

The more your words communicate advantages and outcomes that are meaningful to your prospect on a personal level, the more you’ll sell.

Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing ( He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or

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