Fishing with Baited Hooks

We have all been in discussion with people who either stare into the abyss or play with their favourite occupational toy, the cellular distraction device. It is irritating to say the least and sadly has become in some circles, acceptable. Well, if you allow it to be acceptable, you will always come second, third or even worse.

 To have a person engage better with you or buy into us, we need what are called “conversational hooks” or just “hooks”. They are topics or catchphrases or actions that cause our customers and potential customers to sit up and pay attention, engage or even take a deep breath. In order to be good at this, you do need to understand who you are talking to, what are their interests, likes and dislikes and most importantly what “bait” they like on their hooks. Sometimes we don’t know all of this but there are some generalisations that do work most of the time. For example, walking into a room and yelling out ‘FIRE!’ will get everyone’s attention as they can all be presumed to want to live by surviving a fire. However, once they realise that you are just an attention seeker, their attention will be back to the cellular device. Here are some golden rules that will help you capture the thoughts and minds of the people around you;

First off, be remarkable. If you or your product or service isn’t interesting enough for a customer to mention it, it’s not a conversational hook with bait attached. This hook can be shocking, abnormal, hugely exaggerated or exceptionally flowery, but it must be better than the norm. No one wants to hear that you have something that’s the same as…. This is where you need to think carefully about features and benefits of yourself and or your product or services. We have often seen the various fast food outlets staff burst into birthday songs and chant their welcomes as guests arrive. This was remarkable, but once done, you need to move onto something “different”. At Hiside we open our conversation with a statement  hook that says  “if it don’t work you don’t pay….but we have never had anyone not pay!” Try not to represent average!

Next up, be relevant. Good hooks say something about your business’s core values and link into what you believe your customer will appreciate through their own values.  An example is the Hilton’s DoubleTree Hotel chain, where the first thing you receive is a warm cookie to showcase the hotels’ cosy hospitality. At Hiside, we try to be relevant by always expressing concern over EVENT RISKS which although is often overlooked, is extremely relevant once your client is made aware of it.

Third, be believable. You don’t need to go overboard to create effective conversation hooks. You can be remarkable, but you must be believable. Whatever you want people to be attracted to must not be a one hit gimmick, it must be part of your mantra, the awesome coffee and cookie they get on arrival at your premises, or the walk around where everyone greets your client by standing and acknowledging them (without the cellular device in hand). Everyone tries to blow their customers away with some amazing story about “another” customer. Be careful with this, and try to make your brags more about how working with your clients means so much to your staff and the pride you get from having value-based clients in your stable. This will give them a feeling that if their values are strong, they will be appreciated and acknowledged.

Finally, do it again, and again, and … Hooks should apply to every customer, rather than a random sampling of clients. Regardless of whether its’ your biggest or smallest, they all talk and it’s what they say to others that will either enhance or ruin your reputation.  Make sure everyone in your organisation knows how to fish.

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