Marketing Your Message Through All “The Noise”

The central component for a start-up business, small business, independent contractor, or solo practitioner to be able to master to succeed is marketing your unique message. This is much easier stated than actually executed because of all “the noise” that is present today.

The social media alerts, the networking updates from LinkedIn, texts, “tweets”, and Instagram feeds make it very difficult to differentiate your message from the sea of posts popping up literally every second.

The past five years, while working on messaging as a freelance writer and then in the past 14 months as a Certified Professional Coach, I have learned in a “trial by fire” type of way about messaging. It takes time, patience, constant energy and true thoughtfulness to make it all work.

The best way to build and share that message is to connect in an honest and authentic way. It starts by networking within small groups on social media in a very organic way. That communication and sharing could lead you to start an email list with a newsletter or a link to your blog, or YouTube/ Facebook Live type of posts.

The interaction on social media has shifted from text based to video based messaging, especially over the past six months, which can make your unique central message stand out or get overlooked by an audience that seeks something else.

The most important aspect for the individual business owner or independent contractor to keep in mind is that you are not going to reach everyone. You are not going to be “all things to all people”, and a quick fact here: you do not want to be. The objective should be to have an idea of your target audience: who do you want to reach?

The next step is obviously: how are you going to reach them? You are not going to join a Facebook group for middle aged men if your target audience is 22 – 25-year-old new entrants into the workforce. The key is to find direct avenues to where that audience spends time: Instagram, a YouTube channel, or hosting a Facebook Live event.

The communication that you have with your target audience should be more about teaching than selling. A good general rule of thumb is that people are skeptical of everything and do not like being “sold something”. The more viable pathway is to provide a message that teaches, helps, or inspires your target audience.

The goal of clear communication of your message should provide direct and concrete ways that the other party can benefit from the interaction or from your business services.

In this age of social media updates when somebody eats a cheeseburger, or publishes a book, or takes a vacation. It has invariably become very self-focused, very individualized.
It is in this light that this next point is very important: beware of self-promotion. The social media/online profile of some people I have worked with in the past has had tendencies to go toward the self-promotion route. It is a dangerous point to which there is no going back.

The end result once you get labeled as a self-promoter is very detrimental to your business or your practice, or whatever you are trying to achieve. That does not “play well” with people. It can alienate you from developing a base of followers or a target audience of potential clients.

It is far more positive to share news about your business or your practice by remaining humble and coming from a place of gratitude. This is not only the right way to conduct yourself, but it also helps to foster better and more genuine connections to others in your network.

That ties into my final point on this topic, and that is to build trust and rapport with your target audience. This is done over a period of time. It is done through direct and authentic communication. The old principle that we all learned in Kindergarten: be yourself.

In my experience, going into an interaction with a group of potential clients/customers I have had far more success when I “showed up” as myself. In the instances when I felt like I was not going to get a contract or a writing assignment unless I had different experience, those situations never worked out well.

I have had interactions with people where I went years without asking them for anything. In this way, I built a true relationship and trust with them, and they were far more willing to help me in those situations.

I have learned from those experiences and I resist that sometimes natural human instinct to “go for it” by returning to the person that I am, and presenting my talents and skills: what I can “bring to the table”. In the event that is not enough, well it was not meant to be, and the focus shifts to who I can help and who I can work with in a positive way.

In summary, the best way to communicate a marketing message through “the noise” is to find out where your target audience spends their time to reach them effectively, being okay with the fact that you cannot be “all things to all people”, be clear by getting to the point, teach versus selling something, and build trust with your target audience. I hope that this advice helps you to build your own personal brand and market your message accordingly to reach people in a positive way.

The Value Added Sales Process

The sales process has advanced over the years with the advent of certain technological advancements, but at the core of effective selling are certain “tried and true” principles.  One of those principles is known as value added sales. I will draw upon my extensive professional experience in sales and marketing to detail this principle of selling including practical methods to utilize in your business.


Valued added sales is an approach that is very effective, but it is a selling method which can take a long period of time to yield results. However, those results are usually at a very impactful and measurable level, which is why it is still an important approach to selling either a product or a service.


Value Added Sales – My Experience


I have utilized the value added sales approach in my own career across various industry types. I find that this method of selling is very effective, but it is largely pro-active, so it requires a self-starter type of sales person with a great deal of discipline.


Please allow me to qualify that last statement further. The value added sales approach requires the sales person or account manager to introduce a new piece of information on each sales call which is of some value to the customer.


It requires a great deal of discipline for two main reasons:

  1. The sales person must keep organized records of all prior calls (which is a good standard practice) but with a record of what was used on each call to “add value” to make sure this information is not used again at the same customer account. In sales roles where you have high call frequency (pharmaceutical, medical supply, telecom services) this can become an issue if the data entry on customer interaction is not done.


  1. The sales person or account manager must do research and extra “leg work” to find what they are going to use on each respective sales call. If you are going to present an article on an emerging trend, that requires time to research trade magazines and other information sources and then make copies of the article for the customer. When you are in a sales role where you are required to make a certain number of calls per day or per week, then the time to prepare and organize this extra work comes “after hours” in the evening or at night. That requires a good degree of discipline.


In my experience, I have used the value added sales approach to enhance the selling process for both products and services. It can be implemented for either type of sale as well as B2B sales or B2C sales.


The key to the value added sales process is that the sales person must know their audience. If the audience is a physician or surgeon you should prepare a value added piece to your presentation that they would find of interest. If the audience is a group of product developers at an energy company, then you must have a piece of information that they will find important to their needs or business operation.


Tips and Potential Pitfalls


I have found in my past experience that the best way to prepare for the value added sales process is by starting slowly. I would suggest the identification of certain accounts, clients, or customers which can be improved in some way.


Then, I would set up my sales call plan and select six ideas for value added components for each customer or account. I would follow that step by gathering resources to provide that value added piece.


When I was half way through that six call cycle for those identified accounts, then I would identify six more components that would add value to that customer interaction. That brought me to twelve calls.


This approach was systematic, when I was in medical sales, I would see my top accounts once per week. This plan of doing six calls and then another six calls with value added enhancements brought me to twelve weeks, which was the end of the quarter.


The potential pitfalls to this approach are numerous, this approach requires planning. If you have some other issues that present themselves in your personal life, or if you are asked to work on a special project for your job after hours by your boss; then that planning time is going to be out the window.


The value added approach does not work without the planning and organization of finding the right piece of information on a product or industry trend which will make an impact with the respective customer.


The other most common pitfall is the tendency to “roll out” the program too quickly to all of your accounts or customers. That mistake will usually end in disaster for you and the relationship building process at your accounts.






The implementation of a value added sales protocol for your business has two main approaches:

  • Custom approach
  • System approach


The custom approach is the scenario I detailed earlier. It is where the sales person or account manager has the freedom and autonomy to determine the best way to implement the system in a given sales territory.


Furthermore, the custom approach allows for the sales person to select what value added components will be used at each individual account or client. The decisions are solely with the sales person or account manager in how to implement this important selling methodology.


Conversely, the system approach to the implementation of the value added sales process essentially strips the sales person or account manager of any input into the manner of introduction of this concept into a given territory.


The company controls all aspects of the value added process by dictating to the sales person which accounts will be given the value added approach.  In the system approach, the company also decides how the value added component of the call plan will be communicated.


The most common techniques utilized in the systems approach are:

  1. Fax blast
  2. E-mail blast
  3. E-mail newsletter
  4. A promotional item or product sample


These techniques tend to be viewed with mixed results. In my experience, I have worked with companies who had some success with the “fax blast” or “e-mail blast”. The issue with those techniques are, when they fail, it tends to really turn a customer off.


The other issue with those techniques are that they tend to be one message on one product or product line, or one specific service which is sent to all your customer accounts. It is too much of a “cookie cutter” approach to provide true value to a customer.


I worked with a company which had, over the years, compiled a file of accounts that had contacted them saying they no longer wanted to receive the fax blasts every week.  A mistake occurred during a change to new software and the fax blast went to all the accounts including the ones on the “do not fax” list. We had some angry customers, which is never good, and they remained angry for a while.


The e-mail newsletter at least has some variety to the content which makes it applicable to most of your customer base. However, my concern with this technique is that it is impersonal, and selling is a very personal, relationship driven situation when done correctly.


The promotional sample technique has some inherent deficiencies too, particularly when it is the same product sampled across the board. In the event that the customer already has used the product and formed an opinion on it, then it looks bad to send them a sample of that same product.


I have also worked for companies which have a hybrid approach to the implementation of this important sales process. In this approach, the company still exerts some influence over how the sales person will manage the value added sales process.


The company will conduct monthly or quarterly newsletters or fax blasts, but as a support mechanism to the program, not as the primary driver for business development. The sales person will have the independence to have some input as to which accounts should be introduced to the value added program, and also is given the authority to determine what the value added message will be at a respective account.


The hybrid approach can work pretty effectively when done correctly. In the end, in my opinion, I think the most effective implementation of the program is the custom approach. I believe it works the best overall to allow the sales person the full autonomy to make those choices in their respective sales territory.



Path to Success


The value added sales process can be a very successful way to drive sales and develop new business opportunities in a given sales territory. The process is rooted in relationship building, which is one of the key factors in any successful sales program.


When you as a sales person can bring a special piece of information or new trend to a customer account, you are displaying that you understand their business and that you care about their business being successful. That builds relationships quickly.


The process helps to change the customers’ perception of you and your company within your business interactions. In a successful implementation of the value added process, the customer will now view you and the company you represent, as problem solving partners. You will not be viewed as just another supplier that wants to grow their market share or increase their profits.


The time and effort that it takes to successfully install a value added sales protocol is evident to some of your customers. This extra effort and willingness to go that “extra mile” will become a big point of difference between you and the other sales representatives that call on those same customer accounts.


That effort and energy will help you as the sales person, when that customer account is ready to launch the next big product or designate a supplier for a big project, and they choose you to get that business with them.


The value added sales process will then reach the ultimate goal on the path to success: it will grow your sales figures which will allow you to earn more through commission payments and other compensation.


I hope that this article will be of assistance to all the sales personnel and their respective companies which they represent, as the decision is being made on whether to utilize a value added selling process. The process, when implemented correctly, could have a significant impact on the sales growth of your business.