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"It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear"

How do you feel when you hear these 3 words, I Get It?   Do you immediately relax? I certainly do.  We all want to feel understood whether communicating with a spouse, friend, business partner, and companies we buy product and services from.

In a fast paced, competitive marketplace, where business are vying for the attention of their target market and trying to create a loyal customer base, these 3 words alone, “I Get It”, can make or break a business.

I Get It— This is was the opening tip, technique and messaging tool I learned from a recent  interview with Dr. Frank Luntz, author of hugely influential book and personal favorite (that sits on my night table), Words That Work, It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.

Dr. Frank Luntz is also a nationally recognized, award winning corporate messaging and public affairs consultant for over 30 fortune 100 companies, helping them with navigate through this economic climate and connect more closely with their customers—something that we are all trying to do, right?

The information he shared in this interview is as practical and as real world as it gets.  And I am going to share with you these golden nuggets I learned from this paid exclusive interview.   If you will apply this in your business, you will attract and keep a lifetime of customers.

Here is an overview of the concepts we will cover in today’s post in no particular order:

  • Why having the mindset of “I Get It” will connect you with more customers, get you what you want, and explode your business as a result
  • A discussion of what your customers really want and their emotional hot buttons
  • Rules of effective language
  • Secrets to message development
  • Words that Work (key powerful words and phrases that will get you want in any situation)

As Dr. Luntz observes, there seems to be a level of anxiety, fear, and a feeling that those things that are big, elite, and in control of our lives are more distant now than ever before—that institutions we once looked up to such as government or sports teams we follow or religion we practice or the news that we read —- why are all those things we feel disconnected or distrusting of?

One single tip Dr. Frank Luntz shared immediately that made sense to me and that will help you connect with and gain the trust of your customers are the words “I get it”. As a business owner or entrepreneur, if you demonstrate to your customers that YOU Get It:  3 mutually beneficial things happen:

1.    You are communicating that you understand their needs and concerns

2.    You are lowering their decibel level which allows you to begin to communicate exactly what you understand from them

3.    You connect closer to your customer and communicate exactly what your target market wants to hear.

As a social media specialist, I can tell you that these words should be on the forefront of every one of your social marketing campaigns.

Starbucks for example has mastered this concept and has leveraged the “I Get It” philosophy in each of their social media marketing projects… it is no wonder their business continues to skyrocket and now has millions of loyal fans and customers who will spend $4.00/day on a Frapuccino!

In Dr. Luntz book, Words that Work, he says the following:

“You can have the best message in the world, but the person on the receiving end will always understand it through the prism of his or her own emotions, preconception, prejudices, and preexisting beliefs.  It is not enough to be correct or reasonable or even brilliant.  The key to successful communication is to put yourself right into your listener’s shoes to know exactly what they are thinking and feeling (what are their biggest fears, frustrations, hopes, and aspirations?  How that person perceives what you say is even more REAL, at least in a practical sense, how you perceive yourself.

So what does this mean for your business?

The words that you choose in your communications or marketing campaign will influence how our customers perceive your product or service– and will impact their buying decision.  Dr. Luntz refers to this as “return on language”

A return on language is about applying the best possible messaging at the right occasions to change the way people perceive information.

Let’s look at some examples- what sounds better?  “Drilling for oil” or “drilling for energy exploration”?  Negative attitude or “Strive to create positive impact” Or how about Facebook’s language change from “Fan” to Like”?

Can you see how the words alone can bring on a whole new perception?  How can you change your marketing messages for a more positive impact?

As an entrepreneur or business owner, using the right words or phrases will help you:

  • Connect more effectively
  • Be heard more effectively
  • Get your message out more effectively to get the results you want

How Does This Apply To Your Communications Using Social Media?

Very simply—every interaction you make on the social networks must have your customer’s needs in mind.  Whether you are tweeting on Twitter, posting on your Fan page, writing on your blog, or connecting on other social networks, ask yourself first how are you adding value or solving their problem?

As you do this consistently over time, you will gain recognition in your market, build trust, credibility, and ultimately increase your influence with your prospects so they will want to do business with you.

In later posts, we will cover in more detail effective communication strategies on the specific social networks so you continue to develop relationships, build more followers/fans, drive traffic to your sites, and skyrocket your business!

How To Get More Clients For Your Business

Your prospective customers, who don’t know you, don’t like you (yet), or trust you (yet) are focused on one primary objective:  Getting the RESULTS they want.

Your products and services come between them and the results they want.  As a business owner/ entrepreneur or service professional, you will add more value by focusing on the results or solution your customer is seeking–  Using Words That Focus On Emotional Hot Buttons.

The more you can connect emotionally, the more likely they will buy from you.   The ways you do this is to dig deeper and ask questions about their biggest fears, challenges, hopes, and aspirations.

If you are not engaging your prospects (online using social networks or in person) and being genuine and truly interested, then you will get nowhere and waste your time.

The better you understand, or “Get” your customers needs, the better solution provider you will be.   But it is not enough to know what their trigger points are, you need to WHEN it happens so you know where the solution point exists, not just the pain points.

Here are some specific examples of probing questions that I ask my clients during consulting sessions and also that Dr. Luntz uses to get inside the minds of his audience when conducting focus groups.

You can apply these same questions to better understand your prospects or clients (i.e. conduct online surveys/polls, consultation sessions etc)


What are your biggest fears and challenges?

What makes you angry?

What is happening with a product or service?

Define your challenge to me.  Explain it.

Explain what you feel that your fist begins to clench or that your feel a chemical change in you.

What causes this to happen?

This will help when, how that moment gets triggered… and what triggers it.


What are your hopes and aspirations?

What is your dream?

Think of your life at perfection—where are you?

Who are you with?

What are you doing?

Even in uncertain economic times, the product or service that is aspirational and that evokes a positive image will have a greater impact than something that is negative.

The Balm Is More Powerful Than The Pain…

All these questions are designed to help you become the problem solver.  If you have a solution to the problem you are untouchable right now.

Here are four key words that word master, Dr. Frank Luntz  gave to us in his exclusive interview… if you haven’t already taken notes, make sure you get out your pen and paper and write this down:

Why, There, So That

If you want connect with your target market and have an overall construct of the best message in 80 percent of the cases you’re in, use these 4 words:

Why Is The Problem, Therefore Is The Solution And So That Is The Impact

I’m hungry & Thirsty because I’ve been biking for 5 hours in 90 degrees, humid conditions.  Therefore I’m going to have an ice cold recovery drink so that I replenish my hydration and feel great!

That’s the why, therefore, so that.  Or problem, solutions, impact

Now you try.  Describe your customer’s problem. Then practice constructing a message that solves the problem.

5 Emotional HOT Buttons That Connect You To Your Audience

As discussed earlier, the more you can connect emotionally with your target the more likely they will buy from you.  Dr. Luntz summarizes where your customers are with these 5 aspirations:

1.    More money

2.    More Time

3.    More Choices

4.    Less hassles

5.    No worries

How To Apply These Aspirations To Your Business

In your communications–whether you are creating a social media marketing campaign, doing a product launch, giving a presentation, or networking with your prospects, you should connect your product or service with these aspirations.

By doing this, you are connecting to exactly what your audience wants—and you will attract new customers and get results

Rules Of Effective Language

When I was growing up my father always stressed the importance of having good communication skills no matter what business you are in.

Every day we are contending with a large flux of communication—whether it be advertisement, music, emails, text messages, meetings, conversations… and now more than ever–  social networks.

Social sites such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn has become the fastest growing and predominant form of communication and the most effective marketing tools for business. It has also grown noisier.  With a fast-paced social media landscape growing bigger daily—how do you stand out amid all this chatter?

Using Words That Work…

Now more than ever, the rules of communication have become especially important given the sheer volume of communication we have to contend with everyday.  The words we choose can make a huge difference and determine success or failure— and can differentiate you from your competition.

In Dr. Luntz interview and bestselling book, he shares the following 10 rules of effective communication.   The same exact rules apply when communicating online with Social media.   In my 3-part social marketing guide, “Social Media Triathlon”, I discuss the social media mindset and 10 rules to follow to ensure social media success.

To access the video training and downloadable presentation, enter your name and email on right side of the page. Click here:

These Rules Also Overlap With My Rules For Social Media Success

1.    Simplicity: use small words—it should be simple enough for an 8th grader to understand.  Examples of effective Kellogg’s Rice Krispy marketing logos: “Snap”, “crackle”, “pop”

2.    Brevity: use short sentences.  Think of a tweet where you are forced to write in under 160 characters.  Be concise and brief and think of “sound bites”.

3.    Credibility: use statistics to back up your argument or statement.

4.    Consistency:  keep your message consistent and repeat across all the social networks to maximize your branding

5.    Novelty: offer something new.  If it is original, it will be more memorable and stick in the minds of your customer.  Try creating an original marketing promotion on your fan page or create a “Sweepstakes” campaign on your fan page

6.    Sound & Texture: use words that conjure up an image; Crashing sounds of an ocean wave

7.    Aspirational: messages need to say what people want to hear.  A successful aspirational message should trigger an emotional hot button.  For example, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech—spoke of hope.  If you are sending out a tweet or updating a Facebook post, share a positive quote.

8.    Visualization: use words that paint a vivid picture.  For example: M&M’s slogan “Melts in your mouth”.    When using social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc.) add pictures and videos whenever possible. It is much more powerful.

9.    Ask a question: this is one of the most powerful yet underutilized communication tools.  Asking questions stimulates the brain to think and naturally want to answer a question—it incites interaction.  This works very well with social media—For example, the best way to engage and elicit responses with friends and fans on Facebook is to ask questions and be genuinely interested.

10.   Context and Relevance: it is important to tell them the “why” of a message to give the message meaning.  Without this context, you cannot establish the message’s value. Explain the “why” before the “therefore” and “so that”.

Are you starting to see the real power here?  You can literally skyrocket your business to whole new levels just by:  the words you use; creating the right messages; and most importantly understanding your customers’ needs and communicate by demonstrating you do indeed “Get It”.

Once you truly master these principles described in this post, you will able to apply these elements in all your communications especially in your social media marketing strategies —and become more effective and powerful as a result.

I hope you found all this information useful for your business!  I know I certainly learned a lot from this interview with communications expert, Dr. Frank Luntz.

I would love to hear from you!  What has been your experience (what has been working for you?)  How can constructing the right words and messages impact your business?

Please share with the community by commenting below!

And if you got a lot of value here, please share this with your friends and colleagues on FB, or Twitter!   They will thank you for it!

To your Success!

Laura DeMeo

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