Can You Give People the Only Two Reasons They Need to Hire or Buy from You?

April 16th, 2014

People have the same two reasons for everything they do. They are: 1. The real reason. 2. The reason that sounds good. The real reason is emotional, based on feelings. The reason that “sounds good” is full of facts and logic, used to justify the decision. That’s why, in a logic-versus-emotion smack-down, emotion wins. Every time. Don’t believe me? Ask your neighbor why he bought that expensive new car. You’ll likely hear him quote Consumer Reports for gas mileage, resale value or safety ratings, right? Sounds good, but you know better. You know your neighbor sees that car more like….

Posted in AEC, Business, Communication, Presentation Skills, Sales, Uncategorized, Writing | No Comments »


Three parts every new business pitch needs to prevent chaos

April 23rd, 2013

Congratulations! You or your firm made it to the short list. It’s between you and who-knows-how-many other folks who do the voodoo you do. Woo-hoo! Let the fun begin. Or maybe not? You may have anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to give your presentation. Ugh. How do you convince anyone of anything in 30 minutes? You may have anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to create and rehearse your presentation. Rehearse? You mean “talk about it in the car on the way over.” Input? If it’s a team presentation, and you’re in charge of pulling the pitch….

Posted in Advertising, AEC, Business, Communication, Marketing, Presentation Skills, Sales | No Comments »


How To Give Facts and Logic the Power to Prove Your Point

March 27th, 2013

Don’t get me wrong. Despite my rants about the power of emotion, I don’t hate facts and logic. Facts, studies, numbers, step-by-step logical explanations and reasons are the go-to, default tool we all use whenever we need to support a recommendation, make a point, justify a decision, sell an idea. Facts are my friends, honest. However–you knew that was coming, right?–facts are not necessarily the slam dunk, double dog sure way to get the response you’re looking for. Why? Because facts can be cold and preachy. Numbers, percentages–even when presented as pie charts–can be mind numbing. Statistics? Don’t get me started…..

Posted in AEC, Business, Communication, Presentation Skills, Writing | No Comments »


What a layperson needs to know about great graphic design.

February 7th, 2013

The client says the logo is too small.  The client wants more bullet points.  The client says there’s room to put a little snipe across the top that says XYZ. Graphic designers and creative directors all over the planet just twitched and rolled their collective eyeballs skyward. I know this because that was me talking, back in my ad agency and marketing firm days. One day, the creative team had had enough. They called a meeting. Uh oh. Creative people hate meetings. I made a note to arrive early and clear the room of Exacto knives. It was one of….

Posted in Advertising, Communication, Marketing | 4 Comments »


The Worst (and Best) Way to Close a Presentation or Pitch

January 8th, 2013

“Are there any questions?” That’s how most people close a presentation, pitch or meeting. It’s seems perfectly natural. If there was something that wasn’t quite clear, the Q&A is the perfect time for you to clarify. You don’t want to leave them confused. No way, not you. Or,  perhaps a question might spark more discussion. They want you to go into more depth. That feels good, doesn’t it?  You get to show off a little bit right there at the end, speaking extemporaneously about things you didn’t have time to include in the first part. If you’re presenting at a….

Posted in AEC, Business, Marketing, Presentation Skills, Sales | 7 Comments »


Does your web site sound like you?

December 12th, 2012

By “you,” I mean, does it sound human? Most companies want to make sure their web content sounds professional, respectable and trustworthy. Nothing wrong with that. Except that with everyone trying to sound professional, respectable and trustworthy, too many all start sounding the same. By “same,” I mean, boring. “We are a full-service whatever firm, founded by experts who are dedicated to providing high quality, service and value to help you achieve whatever lofty goal or objective you tell us you want.” I’ve always wondered…does anyone ever tout being a half-service firm? Are there any companies willing to admit they….

Posted in Advertising, Communication, Marketing, Writing | 4 Comments »


Benchmarks are better than resolutions, and get better results.

January 12th, 2012

Just days after New Year’s, my daughter and I were talking about making and breaking resolutions. She said hers would be easy to keep. She wanted to cook-in more. Kelsey is in her last semester of graduate school and races between school, internship, work and the gym, eating or munching on the run, or standing at the kitchen counter in her apartment. I took a deep breath, pondering whether I should just say, “That’s a good one, sweetie,” wearing my Mommy Hat, or tell her what I really thought, wearing my Business Hat. I managed both. “That’s a good one,….

Posted in Business, Goals, Random Thoughts, Observations, Work Life Balance | 1 Comment »


Example of Bringing Your Benefits to Life: Literally and Figuratively

September 26th, 2011

Show, don’t tell, and whenever possible, defy gravity! Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to two different Virginia state associations in the AEC (Architectural, Engineering, Construction) industry:  the Society of Design Administrators and Society of Professional Engineers. Like many other firms in other industries, it’s an ongoing challenge to stand out and set your firm apart when prospects often think “you all look alike, same-o, same-o, just tell me your price.” I’m always pounding the drum that encourages anyone in this situation to go beyond describing their products and services, and instead, bring your benefits to life. A….

Posted in Advertising, AEC, General, Marketing | 1 Comment »


Tautology: When Twice is Once Too Much

August 25th, 2011

You know how it is when you learn a new word and then it pops up all over? That hasn’t happened yet–not exactly, anyway—but I’m more nervous about writing this email blast than any other. The word is tautology, and while I have not heard or read it since first learning what it is, I have, to my horror, found evidence of it in my own writing and conversations. A tautology is the opposite of an oxymoron, sort of. An oxymoron combines two contradictory terms, like jumbo shrimp. A tautology is unnecessary repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words….

Posted in Communication, General, Random Thoughts, Observations | 12 Comments »


Go Below the Line

May 2nd, 2011

Response is what you get Above-the-Line. Relationships are built Below-the-Line. The seventh mistake of the seven marketing mistakes every business makes (from the book by yours truly) is that we don’t go far enough. We want to think that if we just find our target audience, identify our attraction factor, create a compelling offer or message and communicate it enough times, the prospect will “buy.” That’s what I call your Above-the-Line strategy. The problem is that most prospects don’t do what we want them to do, when we want them to do it, just because we asked them so nicely….

Posted in Advertising, General, Marketing, Sales | No Comments »


Terri Langhans

Terri Langhans, CSP, COE
Certified Speaking Professional
Chief of Everything
Blah Blah Blah Etc., Inc.



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