What’s in it for them?

If you do anything in marketing/business/sales, even if you’re applying for a job, think of this, “What’s in it for them?”

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about…..

Say you are applying for a job. You saw the posting on Monster.com and it asks for a resume and cover letter. You whip out your resume and polish it off. But then it comes time for the cover letter. What do you write?

Maybe you write what most other job seekers are writing:

Dear (NAME),

When I saw the job opening for the (INSERT JOB TITLE) I knew I had to apply. I am an energetic individual with a great work-ethic and leadership skills. With years of hospitality experience, two years of business management as well as relevant hands on experience and am ready for my next adventure. I’m currently looking for an opportunity to move into a different career path, I feel that my skills and experiences would be a great fit for the position.

This is part of a cover letter I received from someone a few years back. Can you even tell what job they’re applying for? No! Because it’s generic and could be used for literally any application or any industry.

Do you see how many times they mention “I” or “my”? Way too many for one paragraph.

In the rest of the cover letter it gets worse. You want to know my problem with it?

“What’s in it for me?”

As the person in charge of going through the applicants, this person showed me no clear benefit they would provide for the company. All I could see was what they wanted. They wanted a new career path. They wanted a new adventure.

So what? As a business owner, I want to know how you’ll be helping me. It sounds mean. But think about it, why is a business hiring? Because they need help! Not because they want to give you a new career path.

A lot of job seekers end up in this rut. They send out tons of cover letters like this and don’t get any response or feedback. Something as simple as considering “What’s in it for this company?” can really change the feel of a cover letter.

The same goes for marketing as well.

I see many websites, even marketing agencies, that miss this. Their website points out something like “Direct Response Digital Advertising on Social and Search” (that’s an actual headline). Yeah so? What’s in it for me as the customer?

I’m more interested in hearing something like “As an eCommerce store owner, you have bigger fish to fry than learning the ins and outs of paid social and search. We’ll provide you a dedicated account manager with 5+ years experience to focus on getting you the best ROI for your ad budget.”

It’s pretty wordy and could be condensed down, but as an eCommerce owner looking to grow my business with paid marketing I’d be pretty intrigued to learn more about how they can help me. I see the clear benefits that I’ll save time, get a dedicated person working on my account who has more experience than me and will focus on ROI.

Next time you’re interacting with someone you want to do business with whether it’s applying for a job, selling to a customer, or trying to land a client, consider how you present yourself.

Are you mainly focusing on yourself? Or are you focusing on what the other person gains by working with you?