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How Many Company Overviews Do You Really Need?

Last week, I gave you a simple formula that you can use to easily craft company overviews that kick butt. A few people even posted their new company (or personal) overviews in the comments and I gave them feedback.

But along the way, an interesting question came up. Is one company overview enough? Today, I’m going to explain why the answer is no and give you some guidance on how many company overviews you really need.

Why The Heck Would You Need More Than One Company Overview?

I once had this friend. She dressed just like everybody else. She wasn’t covered in tattoos or body piercings. She was just a normal girl. But every so often, she would dress up like a goth (if you’re unfamiliar with that term, think vampire) and go out to this bar and hang out.

In a sense, she was two different people. She had an identity with the goth crowd and she had a different identity with me. Sure, at the core, she was ultimately the same person. But her persona, depending on who she was with, differed.

Aren’t we all a little like that? Doesn’t your dad have a different perception of you that your best friend, or significant other has? Your dad and your best friend (unless your dad is your best friend) met you at different times in your life and have had different experiences with you. The story your dad has about you in his mind is different from the one your best friend has.

The same concept applies to clients. The story you tell your first client probably isn’t going to be as effective with your 1,000th client. The story that resonates with a pharmaceutical company isn’t necessarily the same one that will resonate with a school board. And that, my friend, is why a single company overview will just not do.

So, How Many Company Overviews Do You Need?

You should start out by crafting an overview for each client type. For example, you might have one for government owners, one for developers, and one for contractors.

You should also have a standard company overview for the general public. Most of us already have this, it’s on our website, brochure, press release, etc.

If you want to take it a step further, craft company overviews for each market sector. For example, you could have a different overview for the secondary education market than you have for the higher education market.

If you break them out as I’ve described and use the formula I laid out, it won’t take you long to write these company overviews as you need them. They will be much more relevant and interesting to the people reading your marketing materials and/or proposals.

How Many Company Overviews Do You Have?

Now it’s your turn. Did you ever have more than one company overview? Let us know by posting a comment here.

If you liked this article, please subscribe below or on the right side of the homepage. If you want to give us your thoughts on this issue, please leave a comment below.

How To Write A Company Overview That Rocks

Company Overview

One of the worst, most boring, things in the world you’ll ever have to read is a company overview. Am I right!?!

“Since 19__, we’ve been an engineering firm. Blah, blah, blah services we provide. Blah, blah, blah how many people and offices we have. Blah, blah, blah, we are customer focused and give great customer service. Blah, blah, blah we’ve won the following awards…”

Folks, that’s only the first paragraph! There’s usually like a full page of this drivel. And I get it. Many RFPs ask you for your company overview. Plus, it’s not like you can do without one. You’ll need it for your website and if you still have a brochure..that too.

But how do you turn a boring company overview on its head and write something that’s actually compelling?

Well, today I’m going to share with you step-by-step directions on how to do just that. And, if you follow these directions, I think you’ll be shocked at what you are capable of writing.

But first, let me tell you a little story.

Why I Was, Luckily, Never Tortured By Boy Scouts

At about the age of 11, I entered the Boy Scouts. My mom was totally against it. She tried to persuade me not to by explaining that I would have to leave home on the weekends and sleep in the woods.

Note to all mothers, this is a surefire way to convince your 11 year old to join the Boy Scouts! To me, that sounded like a dream come true (keep in mind, this was the 80s – before gadgets and the internet).

But what I didn’t know was this. When you get about 30 boys (between the ages of 11 and 16) and put them into the woods together…let’s just say it can turn into Lord Of The Flies pretty darn quick.

And this particular Boy Scout troop had something called “initiation.” That’s when you, as the new scout, would have to endure something horrible to prove you could “take it” and were not a snitch. And the severity of this act depended on how little the older kids could tolerate you.

For example, they tied one kid to a tree and beat him with sticks. They tied another to a metal cot in an empty campsite and left him there for hours. Like I said…Lord Of The Flies.

Yet, I was never initiated. I know it was discussed because one time I overhead one of the older kids say, “No, I like him. He makes me laugh.”

That was my saving grace. The only thing keeping me from being tied to a tree and beaten was that:

  • I Stood Out From The Other New Scouts
  • They Liked Me
  • They Trusted Me

Why That’s Important

I’m sharing this story because I want to illustrate two very important takeaways. First, if you make your clients read a bore-you-to-death, full-page description of your firm…you should be tied to a tree and beat with sticks. It’s true! That’s the only legitimate reason ever to do that to someone.

But probably more importantly, if you can write a company overview that’s a little different and gets potential clients to like and trust you…that puts you in a good position.

Can we all agree that’s what we want our company overview to do? Ok, good.

We’re going to build our company overview using what’s known as the Know, Like, Trust (KLT) Hook.

What Is The KLT Hook?

The KLT Hook was popularized by copywriter Kevin Rogers and has its roots in a common formula used by stand up comedians. This formula is typically used during an initial joke to endear an audience. It was most famously used by Jimmy Fallon in his first monologue as the host of the Tonight Show.

The KLT Sales Hook has four parts:

Identity

You start off by identifying yourself with the audience. You show yourself as someone just like them.

Struggle

Next, you identify a personal struggle, one that your audience can relate to. The struggle should reflect a problem your audience currently has.

Discovery

Then you identify a discovery: something you learned that helped you solve this problem.

Surprise/Unlikely Result

Finally, you give the audience something unexpected. This is often that you achieved a result better than one would expect.

Jimmy Fallon’s KLT Hook

Let’s look at how Jimmy Fallon used this formula.

The joke starts around 1:25. Let’s dissect it.

“I really don’t know how I got here. I grew up in upstate New York, a town called Saugerties, New York. It was a beautiful town. I had a great childhood.”

What’s he doing there? He’s really not talking about himself, is he? He’s identifying with the audience, all those viewers that have fond memories of their childhood and the town they grew up in. What he’s saying is,”I’m just like you.” Then he goes on.

“If you would have told me as a kid that I would graduate high school then go on to be on Saturday Night Live…then eventually go on to be the host of the Tonight Show…”

Now what’s he doing? He’s identifying his challenge and showing some weakness. He wasn’t the kind of kid to be voted as “most likely to succeed.” I, like most of you, wasn’t that person either. Again, we can identify with this struggle. but what does he say next…

“…I would have said, “I graduated high school?”

This is the punchline. And there are two important elements to this. First, he’s discovering something. He’s just learning that he graduated high school.

But the discovery is not what makes it funny, is it? What makes it funny is we weren’t expecting him to say that. We would expect him to say that he just assumed he would graduate high school but would be surprised to be hosting the Tonight Show. We weren’t expecting him to be surprised that he graduated high school.

But how do you apply this formula to your company overview? I’m going to show you, but first let’s look at how and why it works.

How And Why The KLT Hook Works

By using the KLT Hook, you are first showing the audience that you were just like them. You are showing similarity.

Studies show that people like those who have commonalities. If we can understand and feel empathy toward their situation, we’re more likely to embrace them.

Then you identify your struggle. Again, studies also show that by identifying our own struggles/weaknesses, we prove that we can be trusted. This helps get the audience’s guard down.

Then by identifying your discovery, you flip the script. You’ve stumbled upon a solution they have not. Here you are identifying a secret. This portion of the KLT hook draws people in because it creates a “knowledge gap” (gap between what the audience knows and what they want to know). When there is a knowledge gap created, the audience will want to close that gap. Therefore, it arouses their curiosity.

Finally, you end with the surprise. You identify a result the audience wasn’t expecting. In comedy, this is the twist that gets people to laugh. In business, this is the twist that gets people interested in buying your services.

Using The KLT Hook For Your Company Overview

My most classic example of using the KLT Hook is the profile I use for speaking engagements.

“Matt Handal was a marketer submitting boilerplate proposals and materials that were indistinguishable from his competitors’. He had no idea how to convince new clients to buy his firm’s services. And worst of all, nobody would listen to him.

One day, he stumbled upon some academic research on how people really make decisions. Since then, he’s convinced government clients to give his firm large sole-source contracts, written one of the most popular books about proposal writing, and people even fly him across the country to teach them how to apply Mind Marketing to their business.”

That’s a hardcore implementation of the KLT Hook! :)

Yeah Matt, that’s great for YOU! But how do I use this at my firm?

I use the KLT Hook to write custom company overviews for each market or client type. Those really aren’t my examples to share. But let me throw a quick one together here:

“Pat Flynn and Dave Brown met in 2007, the day they were both laid off from a giant architecture firm. They had no job prospects and were burnt out from the “big firm approach” to architecture.

Sitting at a local pub, with nothing to lose, they scribbled down some ideas of how two unemployed architects might impact the world. One of those ideas hit them like a train.

So, armed with a loan from Pat’s grandmother and working out of Dave’s basement, they set off to pursue a singular vision: To build a practice that put people first and delivered practical, cost-effective, architecture solutions to businesses that needed them.

Today, Flynn and Brown Architecture is the largest firm dedicated solely to commercial projects. Pat and Dave proved that an architecture firm can serve people, make client budgets work, and put the interests of the businesses it serves above its own. And we’re awful glad they did.”

Now tell me that’s not one of, if not the, best A/E/C company overview you’ve ever read!

The Company Overview Challenge

Now’s your turn. I’m throwing up a challenge. Take a stab at rewriting your company overview using the KLT Hook. Then post it in the comments. I’ll read every one and even lend my thoughts. Give it a try and post a comment.

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