“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying”
This quote recently got me thinking…
It’s from Ralph Waldo Emerson (sort of), and one way it can be read is basically as a more poetic way of saying “actions speak louder than words”.
You know when some statements and quotes get so overused that they become almost meaningless – to the point that they can no longer be heard?
Ironically, “actions speak louder than words” is one of those.
It’s become such a clichéd motivational quote / tweet / t-shirt that we all know it without really thinking about it…
These days it’s more likely to annoy than inspire.
So I prefer ol’ Waldo’s longer, more rhythmic and more direct observation (significantly, he uses “You” twice – great copywriting!)
But it raises an uncomfortable question:
If what we do is more important than what we say, where does that leave us as marketers, product creators and communicators?
Do our actions diminish the importance of our words?
Are our sales messages, value statements and product/service descriptions only ever just so much promotional fluff?
I don’t believe so.
When we communicate with people who want what we have – when we ‘sell’ using copy and content, to people who are searching for a problem we can help them with…
…now more than ever before, we need to ensure we back up what we say with what we do.
On the surface, that sounds easy enough…
But you don’t have to look too far right now *cough – Facebook! – cough* for confirmation that actually, when there’s cold, hard cash at stake (and lots of it), people don’t always do this right.
Still, what we say is often the best way to direct attention towards the good that we do…
If you want to demonstrate your app, or have people take your course, or walk a client through your expert process, you need to tell them something about it first…
Which means putting the right message in front of the right people.
That’s important work, and worth the time and effort it takes.
Combining words with deeds effectively is all about building and rewarding TRUST…
The importance of trust is constantly underplayed in marketing
(Hmm, I wonder why that is?
Why would some people want to draw attention away from the issue of trust? Ok, probably a discussion for another time…)
But of the three elements that make up the ‘Know, Like & Trust’ code of great marketing, trust is surely the most important.
(I buy things from people I don’t really know, frequently. Shopping online makes that easier. I’ve even bought from people I don’t like…
But giving money to someone I don’t trust? Fat chance.)
If your audience doesn’t trust you, it’s always going to be hard to convince them of your unique value.
And that’s when your message falls on deaf ears.
Anyone can tell people: “Trust me”…
But what can you do to effectively demonstrate your trustworthiness to those who matter?
Well, the bad news is: there’s no shortcut.
And the good news is: there’s no shortcut : )
We’re all consumers, and we all benefit from more trust-focused marketing.
But these days we seem to want things faster than ever – yet when it comes to trust, it’s worth taking things slow, on both ends of the buy/sell arrangement.
One way to do this right in business is to ask some more ‘uncomfortable questions’ of our marketing…
When you create any marketing message, is it done in a way that will enhance your audience’s trust? Or does it put that trust at risk?
Also, do your testimonials and case studies communicate the message that ONLY your product or service could get these specific results for your client/customer?
(If they do, that bond of trust is strengthened. If not, they’re still contributing, but there’s work to be done.)
And is your messaging ‘speaking loud’ yet failing to communicate trust because you’re using the wrong words or tone?
Are you trying too hard to CONVINCE or PERSUADE in a way that leaves you sounding desperate… or worse, sounding just like everybody else?
That’s when, like Emerson said, your audience simply won’t hear you.
But what we do respond well to are messages that communicate unique value, and that flesh out the real person (or people) behind an idea or an offer…
When people finally see or hear the REAL YOU, they begin to trust you more…
I’m working with a handful of entrepreneurial and small business clients this year to help them demonstrate and grow this kind of trust with the people who want what they have.
I’ll share more about that in the next few weeks…
For now, it’s a good idea to start asking some of these ‘uncomfortable questions’ of our own marketing.
Hop in the comments below to let me know what answers (comfortable or otherwise!) come out of this process for you.