How to Make Sure Your Message Sticks
We tend to forget most of what we’ve been told within a week, unless that message has been repeatedly reinforced. So, unless you reinforce your messages and deliver them in an interesting way, there’s little chance clients and prospects will digest your information and act on it.
There are however some key ways to make sure your messages are understood and remembered.
Make points memorable by telling stories
Prospects and clients are far more likely to remember stories than messages that appeal to their reason.
Stories and analogies make the unfamiliar, familiar. They act to engage and involve, creating a stronger emotional relevance. As human beings, we tend to live vicariously through the actions and stories of others, which is why ideas that have narrative are more memorable.
By telling stories you are inviting clients to feel empathy increasing the likelihood that they will accept the message as real and trustworthy.
Cut the jargon if you want to be memorable
To get people to understand and remember what you’re saying, don’t use technical jargon. Bypass the numbers for the time being.
Prospects’ faces will glaze over if you start talking about Portfolio Rebalancing or asset allocation and they will fail to understand your message. Instead tell simple stories and break down topics into small, illustrative ‘word pictures’ so that you develop an emotional connection with them. Take your prospects and clients on an engaging journey by making your ideas memorable and shareable.
Decide what you wish your audience to remember, then base your story around this key takeaway. Stories needn’t be long – they can be just a few sentences – but make sure you take listeners with you. Use people, places and problems as the ingredients. Use images and sensory descriptions.
Make it emotionally relevant for the listener and show vulnerability. One of the most valuable stories to listeners is when an apparently confident person talks about a time they struggled or failed. Tell prospects a ‘values-in-action’ that illustrates your values . Tell them how you learnt a lesson the hard way. This will invite listeners to empathize with you and remember your message.
Getting prospects and clients to understand market volatility
Your clients, unlike you, see market volatility as a clear and present danger rather than a natural course of events. No matter how hard you try, it’s often difficult to get clients to grasp the fact that volatility is an opportunity rather than a danger. Whenever they encounter volatility they overreact; when prices fall, clients start to panic.
Take a leaf out of George Bernard Shaw’s book and understand that the “single biggest problem in communication is the ‘illusion’ that it’s taken place.”.
Tell clients over and over that when an investment goes down, it is the price that has dropped – not the value of the investment. When an item is marked down for sale, we don’t immediately assume it’s of an inferior quality, we generally assume it’s now become a bargain. Our perception of that item’s value hasn’t changed – it’s now simply a ‘great deal.’
Get clients to focus on inherent value rather than short-term prices. Use analogies to make your point and make it again and again until it makes sense to clients and prospects.
Don’t assume you can skip over things thinking your clients have understood your message or that they already know it. Use stories and analogies to ensure your messages stick.
Without stories ideas are easily dislodged and replaced. To make your messages stick you don’t need to be brilliant – you simply need to be memorable. Stories and analogies tap into the emotional side of the brain, and by appealing to a prospect’s humanity you will persuade them of the truth in what you say and, when they leave your office, they will remember you and your message.