November 1, 2011


others need reminding tooHave you noticed that people don't remember things you know you told them? This normal in families (at least mine) but a problem in business. Your carefully crafted messages can easily get overlooked. Even with repetition. Why?

There can be many reasons:
  • They forgot
  • They didn't notice
  • Your timing is wrong
  • Your message is unclear
  • Your delivery is not engaging

String Theory

Earl Nightingale said we all need reminding. You can’t tie string to their fingers but you can keep reminding them in different ways (without telling them you already told them).

For example, I conduct actuarial insurance reviews and have for ages. Days ago, I realized — shock! — this isn't well known.


Selling your wisdom makes complete sense but for-fee work is rare in the financial world. Instead commissions get paid and create conflicts of interest which lower trust. If your competitors work for “free”, who would pay you? I decided to find out.

This summer, I started charging for my analyses. This fundamental change has boosted the perceived value of the diagnoses and also increased compliance with the prescriptions. That's a win for all.

When I started describing the for-fee change, I found that people didn't know about the reviews in the first place. I hadn't reminded them because I thought they knew. Maybe they didn't ask because they  thought they knew too (even if they were misunderstanding). What sticks is that I'm an actuary and less boring than they expected. It's easy to beat low expectations.

What do people remember about you? Maybe you can build on those memories to remind them about what you do.


You may be reluctant to promote yourself after you've delivered your powerful 10 second commercial. Assuming that your golden words will stick is passive and risky.

I've met some people more than once and still don't know what they do. I may remember some words but not understand the meaning. For instance, I've heard of a "Human Resources Consultant" but don't really know who might need one or why. That means no referrals. The people you meet can face the same confusion. How would you know? Ask connections to describe what you do. You'll test their knowledge and spot ways to clarify your message. Just remember to ask.


PS What's new with you? The answer could give you a reason to reach out and reconnect.

1 comment:

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