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June 4, 2009 / jasonpinto

Roger Control

Have you ever heard two pilots have a conversation? I’m talking about a feet-planted-on-the-earth conversation, not one that you listen to on channel 2 when you are in a plane.

It can be pretty amazing. They have their own language. They get very excited about things that sound very boring to the average passerby.

Well, you know what – this applies to any profession. Or to anything that people develop a passion about.

I played poker for the first time in many years the other day. I had a fairly high-level idea of what was going on, and what I was supposed to do…. But the terms being used between the more seasoned players left me completely confused. I felt out of place. I was more than happy to go “all-in”, just so I could leave the table. I really wanted to play… but I just didn’t feel like I belonged.

Well, how do we do in this regard when it comes to our profession or passion?

Let’s say you offer marketing services to organizations. No doubt, you will be well-versed in all things marketing. You read blogs, tweets, and articles… You attend marketing-related webinars and conferences. Yes, you know a lot of terms, and you truly believe in the power that you can offer people with your knowledge and services.

Now imagine being a small business owner that is listening to your pitch. The owner knows a little bit about marketing, of course – but he doesn’t have a marketing department. He has a million things on his mind related to running his business.

How are you going to talk to him?

Certainly, you want to help. You want to offer your services. But in many cases, our passion and knowledge can get us into trouble, if we are not careful. We try telling them everything that we know and can do in one conversation. We use a lot of terms that they don’t know – not always on purpose, but sometimes we do so with intention. The person at the other table starts to feel everything we say fly over their heads. Their eyes glaze over, and the meeting finds its ending.

I guess the point is, there is a time and place for everything. There is a type to talk “geek” – when we are hanging out with our IT friends. There is a type to be hyper about marketing topics – when we are with our marketing friends. And we can talk freely about the friendly skies when we are with fellow pilots.

But when it comes to marketing and selling our product or service, we need to talk the language of the person at the other end of the conversation.

Sure, we want them to know that we are experts, and that we have something that can help them. But if we make them feel too out of place, well, our help just won’t be needed at that time.

Find a common ground. Address their specific problems and challenges. Then, find the simplest way possible to demonstrate how your knowledge can help them reach a solution.


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