When I ask manufacturing leaders “What makes you different?”, I most commonly hear:
- Our customer service
- Our deep expertise and experience
Both are great things. But here’s the problem: Until a customer experiences them first hand, they have no reason to believe you. So how do you show a prospect (who hasn’t yet signed on the dotted line) that you walk the walk?
#1 is tough. You can demonstrate hints of great customer service to a prospect through your responsiveness to their RFQ and the way you interact with them during their buying process. Every touch point counts. But until you physically deliver your product or service, there’s only so much you can do.
So that bring us to #2: “Our deep expertise and experience”.
How can you demonstrate that you and your people are true subject matter experts who have seen their problems before and solved those problems for others who resemble them?
Most companies tell their prospects all about it. “Our people are amazing. Our engineering is unparalleled. Our machines can’t be matched.”
Meanwhile, want to guess what your competitors are telling them? (Copy and paste the previous paragraph here).
Here’s the truth: Your prospects simply don’t care about you or how great you think you are. They care about themselves, the problems they’re trying to solve and the business outcomes they need to achieve.
So what if instead of telling them about your expertise, you showed them? Time to pay off the title of this article – “Your Engineers’ Brains are Your Best Marketing Tool”.
Start with the things that matter to your prospects. What are the five most common questions you get during consultative sales calls? What are the three most common issues they’re trying to address? What are the business outcomes they need to achieve?
Gather these insights from your Sales folks who interact daily with prospects. Better yet, interview five or 10 recently closed customers and let them articulate these insights first hand.
Next, tap into the brains of your most skilled and experienced Engineers and technical professionals to address these things:
- Choose a topic that you know matters to your customers and prospects
- Identify the Engineer or subject matter expert most qualified to talk about it
- Interview them. Turn on the audio recorder. Better yet, turn on the camera.
Now that you’ve extracted that expertise, you’ll turn it into your marketing content. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Use Rev.com to transcribe that interview for $1.25/minute and publish it verbatim in your blog.
- Hand the transcription off to a copywriter and clean it up for a blog post.
- Publish the video recording on YouTube and stream it into your website.
- Chop out the three best highlight clips and use them as micro-videos for LinkedIn.
- Turn the audio file into a podcast episode.
- Once you’ve published the content in one of the above formats, summarize it in a few paragraphs send it out via email instead of your “Here’s what we did at the company picnic” newsletter that no one reads.
You earn attention by focusing on the things your buyers care about. You earn trust by showing your expertise – not talking about it. Ready to get to work?
Joe Sullivan is a Co-founder of the industrial marketing agency Gorilla 76 and host of The Manufacturing Executive podcast. Visit gorilla76.com/learn for an ever-expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools to help midsized manufacturers identify, attract, engage and drive sales with ideal-fit customers. Joe is a frequent contributor on LinkedIn, and don’t forget to listen to his show at themanufacturingexecutive.com.