How to Make Yourself Heard Above the Noise

The biggest challenge “was just getting people to pay attention. It’s seventy percent of the battle.”

Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans

With today’s biblical flood of information and communication, how do you get your message heard by the right people? How do you get people to pay attention?


  1. Be brief, specific and easy to understand

    Keep the message short and simple. Use 8th grade language. Use bold, vivid words and images that “stick” in people’s skulls. Avoid the bland words that have lost all meaning – value, synergy, solution provider.


  2. Target the message specifically to the audience

    While you may be able to solve a broad array of problems, focus the message on what you do best and what is in the best interest of the audience that you are trying to reach. The goal is not to be front of your customer’s mind all the time; the goal is to be front of mind when they are looking for the solution that you can best provide.


  3. Use stories to enhance credibility and give a personal touch, thus becoming more memorable.

    A colleague, Paul McGhee, explains it well in his Sales Scale blog:

    “Selling is asking the right questions.  Selling is listening.   And selling is telling the right stories.  Some stories are best told with pictures, some with numbers, some with analogies, some with comparisons, some with customer quotations, some with 3rd party data and some with internally observed metrics.  You don’t tell every story every time.  But if you “frame and tame” – tell the right stories at the right time in the right way – you win more.  And if your entire sales team is telling the right stories, you win a lot more.”

  4. Develop a relationship or a commonality with the customer or the audience

    Network to get warm leads instead of relying on cold calls. A personal referral all but ensures that you will at least get in the door. Know about the people and companies with whom you meet and use this knowledge. We all like to be stroked and reminded of something we may have done well.

  5. Listen

    With so many of us speaking all the time, the person who listens to others is unique. Listen and then clarify and confirm what the other person has said. This shows your interest and shows that you care.


  6. Give it away

    Give your customer something that may help them in their business – advice, an insightful article on their industry that you may have read, your informed perspective on their industry and growth possibilities. Even if you don’t get the work, you will be remembered because you have helped them.


  7. Create trust that you will do what you say

    Set yourself a specific goal or deliverable to the customer or audience, and then deliver on it perfectly. “I will send you a detailed proposal by noon tomorrow, and I will follow up with a call on Thursday at 10:15 am.” This will differentiate you from the 95% of business people who do not deliver on what they say they will do.


  8. Be consistent over time

    The value of your message succinctly and consistently delivered over time is what helps you stay front of mind. Regular customer contact is vital to prove your reliability and preserve relationships.


  1. Don’t speak too loudly or too flashily!!!!!!!

    The decibel level in our environment today has continued to climb, reaching 110 dB or even higher. Screeching, screaming, and constant hard selling just ratchet the volume up even higher. Do you really think that this point is more important because I added seven exclamations points? Instead, try to vary the volume. Sometimes, speak in person or with your message very softly and then louder. The change in volume is what gets noticed.


  2. Don’t promise too much

    The forgotten part of how to always “do what you say” is to not say as much. In other words, promise less and make sure you always deliver on it. As customers, our suspicions always rise when someone is promising too much. Do we really believe the never-ending promises and guarantees in a 2:00 am infomercial?


  3. Don’t talk about yourself too much

    It is all about your customer and target audience. Keep it on radio station – WII-FM (What’s In It For Me).

    As an anecdote, a few years ago, I went with some salespeople on an important sales call. The meeting was scheduled for an hour. The presentation about our company lasted for over 50 minutes. We actually never got around to talking about the customer, his problems, and how we could help solve them. Not surprisingly, we did not make the sale.

    It is great when you are proud about your company and what it does. But, honestly, the customer and the target audience really do not care. They just want to know how you can help solve their problems.


  4. Don’t Garble

    Keep your message on point. Resist the urge to add interesting, but ultimately irrelevant, information. The more garbled or jumbled the message, the more confusing it will be for your customer or audience.


  5. Don’t overwhelm

    Excessive information and too much contact can begin to grate. Create short, sharp messages on a regular basis to put you front of mind and reinforce. And nothing more. When visiting with customers, get in and get out; don’t waste their time.

Having the perfect solution to someone’s problem is insufficient. You must also make yourself heard.


About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
This entry was posted in Business Acumen, Sales and Marketing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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