Well, actually, it wasn’t stormy at all. But it was dark, it being winter, and I was on a bus heading out to the wilds of north London. I took that route a lot, and I knew the way by heart. So I sat there, reading my newspaper and taking just the odd glance out the window to keep a check on where I was.
At one point, the bus stopped for a minute or two next to a main road junction. It stopped for a little longer than usual, and the driver turned off the engine for a moment, before restarting with a flicker of the lights. Then the bus moved off and I looked out of the window, knowing the bus would take a left and head up the high street.
Except it didn’t take a left. It took a right, and went down the hill and sped off along some dark road heading into heaven-only-knows which part of the capital.
With the ten or so other passengers on the upper deck, I jumped up from my seat, ran down the stairs, and told the driver I wanted to get off, as well as asking him why the bus wasn’t following its usual route.
He told me the bus was going back to the depot. One of the other passengers pointed out that it might have been a good idea idea to tell everybody that the bus was terminating early. His reply? “I turned the lights on and off.”
“And how were we to know what that meant?” the man asked. “Is this some kind of code?”
A good question, which the driver didn’t seem to be able (or want) to answer. For him, a quick flicker of the lights translated clearly into: “This bus terminates here. Please get off and wait for the next one. This bus is now returning to the bus depot.”
It was a crazy notion to think that a flicker of lights could translate into definite instructions. But you know, that’s exactly the way a lot of companies market themselves. You see, before anybody buys something they usually need a lot of information to make a purchase decision. But most companies seem to rely on the equivalent of a “flicker of the lights”.
They seem almost terrified of telling prospects all about their product, about the value they provide, how it compares to other products, what makes it the best choice in the market. Instead they often rely on a quick slogan that says nothing definite at all… and just hope someone, somewhere, understands.
It’s a fact that your prospects know where they want to go. So tell them that you go there, and if you don’t, tell them that too. Speak in plain language that tells people exactly why they should choose you. And tell them everything you can that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Remember: “The more you tell, the more you sell.” Otherwise your prospects won’t have a clue what you mean, and your profits will be a pale flicker of what they could be.