Many of the small high-tech companies I talk with say they have a “messaging” problem. They claim their solution is too hard to explain. When their sales people get into details, the lingo confounds prospects. But if they dumb the message down, they sound just like their competitors.

The good news: Your ideal sales message is already “here.” However, it’s buried. It’s buried deep inside the tech lingo, marketing jargon and benefits babble that your people already say. You just need to get it unearthed.

Think of it as panning for gold. You’re going to have to wash away a lot of sand, soil and stone to find those few precious messaging gems. But trust me: They’re there.

To do this, bring together a group of your best people — particularly the ones who have regular interactions with prospects and customers. Then spend time getting into the minds of your customers. Set aside two full hours, spending about 10 to 20 minutes each brainstorming about these surefire “gold panning” questions:

  1. When seeing our product for the first time, what do prospects get most excited about?
  2. What are the most pressing “pain points” that our product solves?
  3. How do we address these “pain points” so prospects want to buy now?
  4. What is the one “secret sauce” that makes our product/approach unique?
  5. What are the primary benefits that customers gain from our product on a personal level?
  6. When explaining our product today, what do prospects find most confusing?

Spending the time with these questions will reveal the right answers. Just don’t spend time debating. The key is to get all the gold on the table, even if that means that a lot of rocks end up there too.
Once you have everything captured, thank the team and get to work scraping away rocks and sand to find the gems. Analyze all the input deeply. Get rid of all the lingo and jargon. What jumps out right away?. What is the essence of what was said? Where are the repeating patterns? Boil it down to plain English.

At the end, you want to get to three things:

  • Primary Pain Points that represent your best sales qualifiers (no more than three)
  • Key Benefit Points (three to five points in one short sentence each)
  • The Secret Sauce (explained in one to three words)

These elements will provide the basis to develop a more complete messaging framework, which you can then use as the core, repeatable messages to flow into your website, sales pitches and brochures.