What does your typical sales and marketing messaging look and sound like? We help our clients hire the most qualified workers. We improve the recruitment process. We increase efficiencies. We offer unparalleled advantages. We offer customized staffing solutions. We have the best service, the best support. How much of that is about you? Your company? Your solutions? All of it? It's difficult to create a competitive advantage when everyone is saying "we're the greatest." Don't "we we" all over your customers. It's a marketing mistake that's all too easy to make.

So what do we need to do to make our marketing more customer-centric, more relevant, to show up differently in the marketplace? It's what we all want to know, right?

To begin with, most of us can improve our sales and marketing messaging by making it less about us, and more about them.

One way to do that is by changing the hero of our sales stories. Your staffing customer needs to be the hero of your story, not your solution.

What would it look like instead if you came into your customer's world not as the hero, but as the mentor, the guide, someone who will provide the tools for them to be successful on their grand journey?

"The Hero with a Thousand Faces," first published in 1949, is a non-fiction work of comparative mythology by Joseph Campbell. In the book, Campbell discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world mythologies over thousands of years.

What if you came into your customer's world not as the hero, but as the mentor, the guide, someone who will provide the tools for them to be successful on their grand journey?

"A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man."

If the Star Wars fans among you are thinking that sounds familiar, you're right. George Lucas has acknowledged a debt to Campbell regarding the stories of Star Wars.

In laying out the monomyth, Campbell describes a number of stages or steps along this journey:

  • Call to adventure - the hero starts in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unusual place filled with strange powers and events
  • Road of trials - hero faces obstacles, and often survives a severe challenge only because of some outside help they earned and received along the journey
  • Boon/Goal - If the hero survives, the hero may achieve a great gift, either important self-knowledge, or something that can improve the world

So how can we apply these storytelling principles and structure to engage your audience? To create a competitive advantage?

Here is some copy from a staffing company website we can use as a before and after example.

Before: "Our best-in-class Acme 1000 Job Preview Solution and proprietary compensation and loyalty program will keep your business growing and moving forward. By ensuring all of our placements have passed a realistic job preview prior to coming on board, as well as offering the market's best compensation package, we ensure you will have the staffing engine needed to keep your staffing business running."

Now let's look at that copy when we rewrite it, in our customer's language. It's more about them than you. And it features transformation. This is what our customers' world looked like before they used us, this is how different it looked after they hired us as their mentors and guides.

After: "What would it cost you if 70% of your temporary staff needed to be replaced before their assignment was supposed to end? That's the average turnover for most staffing firms. But you can't afford to be average when it comes to managing costs. And we won't let you. You'll get real return on our 98% job completion rating, allowing you to avoid unplanned, unwanted and expensive turnover costs."

Here are the takeways as you begin to re-think your sales and marketing messaging:

  • It's about them, not you
  • You are the mentor, not the hero
  • Translate your story into your customer's world
  • Make your customer the central character
  • Use "You" phrasing instead of "We"


Tags: Advice, Staffing sales, Sales training, Sales and marketing messages, Joseph Campbell, A Hero With A Thousand Faces