The Marketing Conversation

I engage in a marketing conversation with you to move the marketing game forward. There is a flow to the conversation, a combination of talking and listening.

I go from preparation to marketing conversation to selling conversation to presentation and close. I always ask: “Where am I with this prospect?”

Preparation is not much talking or listening; this is the Strategy phase; I prepare what I will say.

When I enter marketing conversations, I talk some and listen much. This is the Possibility phase; I use my Audio Logo to get into conversation, connect with people and initiate conversation, ask questions, listen to prospects, give answers, and use my Audio Logo.

The search for Possibility leads to some Opportunity, which is the selling conversation; now I talk much and listen much. I have a script. I ask, answer, explain my services, tell stories, make a call to action, and follow up.

If the prospect seizes the opportunity, we move into the Engagement phase, the presentation, and close. I present my service details, how it works, what happens, and what the prospect gets; here, I do most of the talking and some listening.

Step 1 I use my marketing message, the audio logo, to gain your attention and interest. It is a conversation starter. In written form, it’s the Headlines.

Steps 2 & 3 are Questions and Answers. I ask questions to learn if you are qualified for my services. In written form, I anticipate your questions and answer them for you. When you ask me questions, I give good answers and keep the conversation going.

Step 4 Then, I ask for action.

Step 5 I initiate follow-ups to my call to action. I do not wait for you, the prospect, to get back to me.

Step 1 Audio Logo. How it Works. How to Use it.

I want to gain attention and interest. I use my Audio Logo as a conversation starter, an initial impression. We are touching the first base corner when you respond with interest. Let’s get rolling.

My Audio Logo has four basic components – target, problem, outcome, and story.

“I work with (this kind of prospect:) engineering and manufacturing company executives who have (this kind of problem, issue, or challenge:) a positive change project on the way and are integrating their business processes.”

I won’t say anymore and wait for a response or a question.

When you say: “What do you do for them?” or “How does that work?”

I use my Alligator Ultimate Outcome:

“We work with our clients (to get this specific outcome:) to increase productivity and throughput without increasing costs or risks while enhancing employee engagement and wellbeing.”

You may ask me to tell you more, or if you have a follow-up question about what I do and how I do it, I will tell you a story.

Stories are brief, to the point, and follow marketing syntax: Target, problem, outcome. I talk about the impact and measurable results. I convey the essence of my business with the story.

Audio logos, marketing messages, and client success stories get me on first base. They don’t get me a home run! I want people to get interested in what I have to offer. I do not expect them to get excited to know more and want to meet with me and buy my services.

My Audio Logo gets your attention and sets up the next part of the conversation.

Steps 2 & 3 Asking Questions and Listening

Move the conversation forward. I put my attention on you. I learn about your situation. Sometimes I forget about my Audio Logo and just start by asking questions of you, the prospect, and use my Audio Logo later when you ask me about what I do. What questions do I ask? It depends on the scenario.

You may be a business owner looking to make new business connections. You may be looking for opportunities to meet a wide variety of new business owners. As long as I’m affiliated, it’s easy to have these conversations.

Even in stranger situations, we may start talking about something, discover some things we have in common, and I ask them what they do. The thing we have in common is the affiliation.

When someone calls me by phone, asking about my business, we are in a marketing conversation first, not a selling conversation. I turn the tables and find out more about them first; I learn about them, their problems, and their needs.

What questions do I ask?

I first want to find out something about your business. First, I ask general questions and zero in on specific things later:

“Tell me a little about your business.”

“How did you get into your business?”

“What kind of clients do you work with?”

“Who is an ideal client for you?”

“How do your services work?”

“What kind of results do you produce for your clients?”

“What are some of your biggest challenges right now?”

I get interested in who they are and what their business is about.

It’s a relaxed conversation. I’m also discovering whether or not this person is a potential client when I ask questions related to my business:

[“What do you do to attract new business?”

“How is your business growing in this economy?”

“What are some of your goals for the coming year?”]

“What kind of change projects do you have going?”

“How do you tackle engagement issues?”

“What is your strategy to build leadership capacity?”

“What is your view on positive work and leadership?” 

Use stories, give an example, ask questions, give answers; focus on the other person; get intrigued, fascinated, and enthralled by this person you’re interacting with.

{I hear you, I am listening to you, I treat you as if you matter, I see you.}

I have written out a list of questions I might ask someone in various situations. I organized and prioritized them. I practice them out loud. I’m initiating a relationship.

Answering Questions – Keeping the Conversation Going

Deepen the connection. Listen, stop talking; answer questions briefly; turn it around and ask another question of the prospect; find out more specifically their needs.

You can’t find out by talking.

Sample conversation: I’ve asked many general questions about your business; then you ask a question based on what you already know since I have used my Audio Logo earlier:

“What are the kinds of things you do to improve a company’s business results?”

“I do an in-depth business mastery program called the Strengths-Based Development Program where people become proficient in systemic leadership practices and attain their planned business results more consistently.

I work with manufacturing businesses of all kinds.

Have you ever engaged in a business development program or workshop?”

“Well, I did (a workshop a few years ago) my business education many years ago.”

“Yes, (I’ve taken a lot of workshops and courses) I discovered with in-depth programs, where people had the chance to develop and implement their (business) strategies, the result went through the roof.

What are some of the (business development) (organization development) (leadership development) activities you’re doing now?”

“We have a performance management system in place; we also use a competency model for employee development. I’m very involved in my direct report’s performance improvements and talent development.”

“I’m working with executives who have had some good success but never really put an organized development plan into place that (improved business results) in any predictable way.

Are you using any (business) strategies like that?”

“Not so much. Much of our talent pool comes from recruiting highly qualified people, and we use well-known industry standards in our operations. Talent development is a lot of work, isn’t it?”

“Not necessarily. It depends on what you want. Many people are satisfied with where they are now, but many businesses want to take things to the next level. What are some of your goals for the coming year?”

“I’d like to (increase my business by %50, increase productivity by %10, decrease turnover by %20, decrease waste by %80, reduce cycle-time by %25, reduce inventory by %10, increase orders and capacity use by %30), if possible.”

“Great goal; what’s your plan?”

“I’ve been thinking of some things but mostly more (strategy this) and some (strategy that).

Do you have any information on your business development program?”

Basic components of my conversations

  1. I answer questions briefly in an outcome-oriented way. I’m marketing and selling outcomes, not processes. I’m offering a program that helps clients do better business and get better results.

{What is better now than before? What results are better?}

  1. I ask a question after I answer. I connect your situation to my question.

My program produces (this benefit). Have you ever taken a program that produces this (benefit)?

You can get (these results) when you do (these practices). What are you doing that gets you such results?

Businesses do (these) to take things to the next level. What are some of your goals for this (next) year?

Great goal; what is your plan?

  1. I talk, not sell; I aim for a real connection, and interest will follow.
  2. I move from familiarity to information. My purpose with this conversation is to build familiarity. I’m not selling. My next natural step is to provide information. When you say, “I’m open to knowing more.” I transition to the next part of the marketing conversation, my call to action.

What if they ask, “how much do you charge?”

I answer: “I’d be happy to discuss fees, but right now, I don’t know if my services are for you or if I can even help you at this point, so I need to know more about your situation before we can discuss anything about fees. Can you tell me a little more about your business?”

A list of all the things a prospect might ask me – Prospect:

What kind of business result do clients get, other than revenue and profit growth?

My succinct answers –

Clients can expect (these) tangible and intangible, and (such) monetary or non-monetary business results; effectiveness, performance, and capability gains; workplace wellbeing and satisfaction increases, as well as enhanced engagement and efficiency gains. 

The questions I ask after I answer the prospect’s question –

Step 4 Call-to-Action

I respond to your interest in getting some more information:

“Let me tell you what information I have and how I can get it to you: …”

“Do you have any information on that program?”

“Yes, I have a detailed write-up on my website. I’d also like to send you an article I’ve written called, ‘The Seven Keys to Taking Your Business to the Next Level.’

If you give me your card, I’ll send you an email with a link to both.”

“I’d also like to find out more about your business. I’m interested to know what the next level would be for you. Can I give you a call after you’ve read the information?”


“Ok, here’s my card as well. Please feel free to visit my site, but I’ll send you those links later today.”

“Great, it was nice speaking to you.”

Think this conversation through and prepare.

My service is valuable; my writing is valuable.

I have confidence in the value I provide.

I have confidence in what I communicate.

I see that you are interested in what I have to give. I’m willing to provide more information to move the conversation forward to Experience and later to the selling conversation.

I am a professional who knows what they are doing.

I follow the marketing conversation steps, prepare, and take action. 

I listen to people, and they respond favorably.

I offer information at the right time, and they want to know more.

I have a script for the call-to-action:

They ask for information of some kind, and then I let them know what I have and how I’ll get it to them.

Then I let them know I’m interested in knowing more about them and that I’d like to give them a call.

I get agreement to that, and I’m set.

Then I follow up.

Step 5 Follow-Up Calls – The Culmination of the Marketing Conversation

The purpose of this call is to deepen the relationship, explore possibilities, and perhaps set up a second base selling conversation.

Challenges: Thoughts and beliefs about rejection come up very strongly when it comes to the follow-up call. Wanting to wait for them to call, or “tomorrow will be more suitable to call.”

Keep your agreements with yourself and others; know what is of value and what to do; do what you can and act on what you know.

Follow a process, and get results.

Plan it out, know what you’re going to say, spend some time practicing it.

Put some effort into it. Take time to prepare, and the follow-up calls will get you there.

Parts of the follow-up call:

  1. Greeting and reminding the person who you are (yes, they may forget) and why you are calling.

“Hi, this is ‘The Mustafa.’ Two days ago, we met at the ‘abcd’ networking event.

We were sharing business ideas, and you wanted to know a little about my program.

By the way, is this a good time to talk?” (Always ask this!)

  1. Use the information you sent to leverage the conversation.

“I sent you that link to information about my program, and I just wanted to spend a few minutes learning a little more about your business. (Don’t ask if they read it.)

You said one of your goals was to increase your business by %50 next year. And I’m interested to know if the marketing you’re doing now is likely to get you there?”

Craft this opening based on any previous connection.

I’m not selling yet. I want to explore if there is any opening to set up a selling conversation.

  1. Ask questions and answer questions.

Asking: “John, can you give me a better sense of who your clients are and how they come to work with you? What are the marketing efforts that have worked for you best?”

Answering: “Our Mastery Program is a year long. In that time, participants can expect to (increase business by %50 or more) get these business results.

We’ve worked with … like yours since …

This part of the conversation should go back and forth.

I do not launch into a presentation about how my services or program works. We’re feeling each other out. I’m not selling you at this point. I aim to build more interest to transition to the selling conversation.

  1. Suggest an appointment.

When I sense you are interested in my program or service, I ask you to take the next step. You might bring up the price and ask to clarify some details about what I offer, or you ask what I usually do next; you may give me indicators such as:

“This program seems pretty interesting. I’d like to know more about it,” or

 “It sounds good, but I’ll bet it’s expensive,” or

 “Do you think this program would be appropriate for me?”

Now, I set up the selling conversation:

“John, at this point, I’d like to continue this conversation either on the phone at a different time or here in my office.

I call it a Positive Work and Leadership Strategy Session.

I’d like to discuss your situation and goals in more detail and then tell you more about the program and see if it would be a fit.”

If you agree to that, then we will set up our appointment.

Getting Unstuck Process

What do I wish for but don’t have and feel stuck?

I want to make follow-up calls to everyone I meet through networking.

How do I feel when I want that but am stuck?

I feel confused, discouraged, fearful, hesitant, insecure, punished, uncomfortable, and worried.

What would I have to believe to feel that way?

I’d have to believe I will be rejected if I make those follow-up calls.

Is that true that I’d be rejected?

Sure, feels like it.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true that I’d be rejected?

Well, I guess not; I can’t be sure it will happen %100 of the time.

How do I react when I attach to that belief?

I avoid making the calls. I do everything but make those calls. I procrastinate, whine, complain, and finally make a call or two. Still, I usually get voicemail, and then I give up.

Who would I be if it were impossible to attach to that belief?

If I couldn’t believe I’d be rejected, I’d feel clarity, encouraged, fearless, decisive, secure, calm, comfortable, and peaceful. That feels a lot better!

Turnaround the stressful belief to its opposite.

I will be accepted when I do follow-up calls. I won’t be rejected when I do follow-up calls.

Is that turnaround as true or truer than the stressful belief?

Well, it’s just as true. After all, when I reached people, they didn’t reject me. They were usually very nice. I’ve even got some appointments that way. Being more prepared would be a good idea, but I am already good at this.

What other thoughts and actions are consistent with this turnaround?

This is something I can do. With my follow-up approach, I can do this. I have something of value to offer. People need the service I offer.