In my less-mature years, I must admit that I was an avid viewer of the animated show South Park featuring the lovable characters Stan, Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman.  Guys, I know I’m not alone. If you’re a male reading this article, don’t kid yourself, you enjoyed the show at one time or another.  In one specific episode, the boys find themselves on the planet Marklar whose inhabitants speak a language that is identical to English except for the fact that every noun is replaced with the word “Marklar”.  A sentence spoken by a native might sound something like this: “Well, there is a lot of room on Marklar.  If Marklar, here, wants to bring his Marklar to Marklar, that would be fine.”  Were you able to pick up the meaning?  No, neither was I.  Communicating with the Marklars was nearly impossible for two reasons:

  1. The term “marklar” was too generic and too difficult for non-natives to understand.
  2. The entire race of Marklars sounded the same.

Imagine what it would feel like to translate a confusing language in a world where everyone looks and sounds the same.  How do you rise above the “noise” on planet Marklar?

The World of Benefit Advising is Filled With “Noise”

Planet Marklar is playing out in real time in the world of benefit advising.  Take one glimpse at your LinkedIn feed and you’ll quickly realize that everyone sounds the same.  Cost-containment … supply-chain management … self-funding.  Everyone is saying it.  Whether your target audience understands it is a different story for a different article.  The point of this article is not to bash these strategies.  They’re effective and they work.  However, it appears that anyone tied to the profession of benefit advising is throwing these terms around in an effort to win new business.  Hey, change is great, we need it.  Our industry is headed in the right direction.  But, unless you find yourself in an unsophisticated market, you’re probably competing with someone speaking your language.  Heck, thanks to social media, they might even be regurgitating your material!  So, how can you rise above the “noise” in an industry where everyone sounds the same?

Create Your Own Story

The quickest way to differentiate from the competition is to have a unique and compelling message.  What’s your story?  How are you crafting a message that separates you from your peers and motivates your prospects to act?  People buy you not the products you sell.  Winning business doesn’t come easy when your message sounds like “white noise”, and whoever tells you this job is easy is full of you-know-what.  Listen, replicating a quote or two you picked up from a colleague is fine, but make sure the message enveloping the quote is unique.  If your message is memorable, so too will be your sales results.  Here a couple of tips to help you craft a memorable message.

Tell stories

Stories are memorable because people can relate to them.  Think of this way.  Your job is to be a healthcare “story teller”.  When you take your audience on a journey using stories, you’re giving them the platform to gain a deep understanding of the solutions you’re trying to offer them.

Speak with your heart, not your head

The world of benefit advising is filled with logic.  Conversations tend to center around numbers, but logic, alone, will not win.  You need to connect with your target audience emotionally.  Empathize with them.  Show them you understand the challenges they face.  You want them thinking, “Wow, he (or she) gets me.”  When you connect with decision makers emotionally, your chances of success quickly elevate.

Be human  

In the race to become the next [insert healthcare topic] “expert”, you’re losing your audience.  They don’t want a know-it-all.  They want someone they can relate to.  Just be yourself.  Be human.

Create Memorable Results With a Memorable Message

To rise above the noise in an industry where all the “natives” sound the same, you need a unique message.  Use the tips above to help you craft a story that separates and elevates you above your competition.  Tell stories.  Speak with your heart.  In doing so, your conversations will no longer sound like this, “We have the best marklar service in the industry because of our marklar expertise and our ability to show you how to leverage legacy-best marklar”.  Instead, you will have one heck of a memorable message that has prospects consistently buying your products because they want to buy YOU.