BD 101: Acknowledging the Language Barrier

by Scott - 1 Comment

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One mistake people make in BD and sales is they assume prospects speak their language.

“We provide a free API….”
“It’s the simplest CMS on the market…”

These are presumptuous statements. I’d like to think that the prospects I reach out to know what an API or CMS is, but it’s just not always the case. If understanding my value proposition is contingent upon familiarity with specific terminology I risk losing an opportunity. Why? Because people are too lazy to investigate something they’re not familiar with. That’s why it’s imperative to communicate your value in such a way that anyone can understand. It sounds incredibly obvious, yet I see people make this mistake time and time again.

For initial outreach I aim to include specific details that appeal to familiarity without completely relying on an understanding of distinct terminology to perceive the value. Note the subtle difference:

Assumptive Pitch

Hi X,

I want to touch base because I noticed you’re missing photos in your New York business directory. We have a free local business photo API that helps publishers enhance their listings to drive engagement.

When you have a few minutes would love to connect about this.

-Scott

Less-Assumptive Pitch

Hi X,

I want to touch base because I noticed you’re missing photos in your New York business directory.

Our company X actually provides publishers access to 6,000 photos of local businesses in New York which they can embed directly on their sites to drive engagement. They are delivered through a free API.

When you have a few minutes would love to connect about this.

-Scott

The second email communicates the value proposition without assuming that the prospect is familiar with the concept of an API. It does mention API for additional context/specificity, but understanding the value is not contingent upon them knowing the term.

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in our own little silo and think that everyone perceives things the same way we do. It’s just not the case and this could be costing you opportunites. Take a close look at the way you communicate to prospects – is it assumptive?

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