Promise Positioning™ | RevThink

Secure your next client by highlighting their biggest pain.

How great would it feel to know exactly what to say, next time you meet a prospective client?

Finding the right words when speaking to prospective clients can be a big challenge. This can feel especially true when we only have seconds to make a lasting impression and we struggle to get out “all the things this client needs to know about me and my company. ”

What You Want To Say vs. The Time You Have To Say It

Which of this is true for you? You meet a great prospective client at a business event and the moment comes when she asks, “So what do you guys do?”

You open your mouth, and…

Scenario A: you stumble to find a sentence or two that summarizes your capabilities. After 5 minutes, you finally nailed it and the look on your perspectives face says, “you lost me 4 minutes ago”. #fail

Scenario B: you realize that you don’t have much time, so you say something like:

“We are a BLANK design studio located in BLANK, and we do amazing work for BLANK and BLANK.” #doublefail

If this is true for you, then you know the common struggle of making clients actually care about what you do.


A studio owner told me:

“When we meet new clients it seems the more we talk, the less they care.”

They are right. Imagine listening to someone for 5 minutes at an event – over loud chatter, music, and maybe cocktails – go on and on about themselves only sharing their life story and accomplishments. You are there, nodding “yes,” but you can’t relate to anything they are saying. We all know we’ve been there and we know that all we want to do is find a reason to get away.

So where do we go wrong?

Look, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely producing some outstanding creative work. Fact is, creating exceptional work isn’t your downfall… your downfall is that you are not able to create a compelling story that tells people exactly what problems you solve.

Leaning Into The Solution

Knowing that the above scenarios are flawed, there must be an approach we can take which forces a conversationalist to lean in and listen, every-time. The method I recommend is called Promise-Positioning™, and it works like this: When your conversation leads to your potential client popping the “what do you do” question, be precise, address exactly what they seek and present a resolution that reduces the burdens of their up and coming needs – guaranteed. And of course the solution is YOU!

BAM! Right then and there, you’ve expand your opportunity, furthered the conversation and created a memorable moment.

Your New Business Card

And here it is… leave a lasting impression by printing your promise on the front of your business card. Simple.

For reference, here is the promise I have printed that I freely give to potential consulting clients looking to improve their pitches.

“Winning that pitch might just be the overnight success you were waiting for. As a consultant, I teach design studios on how to win pitches.”

On the back, we lead them to your promise by printing a simple URL that directs them to a landing page that explains your promise position or a specific page on your website.

Now, the gap between the promise (front) and the URL (back) will raise just enough curiosity for them to take action, close the gap and solve the “pain” they are experiencing.

Once they are on this dedicated page – *snap* – you have just expanded your window of opportunity. Clients may find their way to your portfolio and watch one or two spots which they wouldn’t have ever looked at or found if you would only have given them a standard business card.

Can you see how a good promise transforms your business card into a vivid marketing asset? Although quite simple, it makes a huge difference when your card is swimming in a purse, briefcase, or backpack post-event.

View it this way; if you can sell your studio on a small piece of paper, then you can sell your studio anytime, anywhere. Even in a few seconds.

How would you feel about presenting such a business card for your studio? Could you imagine that this would let you stand out at your next business event?

Why This Works: A Two-Step Formula

Promise Positioning simply addresses a specific pain point and tells clients that you will solve it. By starting with the problem, you break through the lizard brain and lessen the fight-or-flight mentality. Why? It’s an “Ahh, these guys understand us!” moment which allows them to feel open and more likely to accept your help. In fact, once they read your offer, it’s hard to refuse – they so badly want it to be true because you’ve just promised to take away their pain.

The Formula

[State the results of resolving their pain] + [Tell them you will help them get there]
Step 1: State the results of resolving their pain.

“Winning that pitch might just be the overnight success you were waiting for.”

The pain I address in this example is your struggle to get attention in a busy market. Now, the consequence of my consultancy is a possible overnight success for your studio by winning a great client. I focus on your pain but mention it only via the solution for it. This solution addresses deep desire my clients (you) hold. I address your pain point of not having the clients you deserve—great clients that make you successful—with the results that comes from resolving this pain, i.e. overnight success.

Step 2: Tell them you will help them get there.

“As a consultant, I teach design studios on how to win pitches.”

I explain what I do that helps you in your journey. This explains my expertise and authority and assures you that I will get you there. This second part must take the burden off your client’s shoulders and place it onto your shoulders. And at this point, the prospective client can feel at ease.

Be Proactive, But Back It Up

Promising results early in the conversation is provocative. It sets up a challenge and broadcasts your confidence. The bolder the promise you make, the bigger your commitment is to your clients. And once you made this ultimate commitment, it becomes your responsibility to fulfill. That is why it is so compelling and persuasive. By promising clients what they desperately want, we demand their attention on the highest level. But we also commit to delivering on this promise. Because we know, if we don’t, it will backfire on us.

How Other Brands Have Used This Formula Successfully

Positioning on a bold promise is what the greatest brands in the world do to influence our buying decisions. Those brands use claims and slogans that are highly focused on our desires. Such claims and slogans are promises to us, the consumer. Just look at Nike or Apple:

Nike —Just do it.

The promise: With Nike, you will do it, you will get over your inner temptation.

Apple—Think Differently

The promise: You are different, you are special, you don’t obey dogma.

As you see, the biggest and most trusted brands in the world position themselves with a bold promise. It’s safe to say that your studio can do the same.

Here’s a picture of my business card. It has served me well over the years:


The goal of this article was to teach you how you get the attention of potential clients by simply addressing their pain and promising to resolve it. Bold statements that promise to solve pains are the secret to great positioning. Make it easy for clients to experience your value.

The Challenge

Now, I challenge you to go ahead and order a new set of business cards using this Promise Positioning – they will come in handy at PromaxBDA The Conference in NYC.

That’s it! Now go enjoy the event – you know what to say, right?

P.S.: I would love to see your results. Please send your before-and-after picture of your business cards to [email protected] and tell me all about your experience using them at PromaxBDA in the “The 7 Ingredients™” Facebook group.


Marko Pfann serves RevThink’s Europe-based portfolio by teaching design studios “the art of the creative pitch” as well as “digital positioning” to win great clients and grow their business.

Marko’s insights on pitching and positioning stem from his 15 years branding experience in the broadcast industry where he launched more than 60 TV channels around the world while also running the Germany-based motion design agency Perfect Accident.

Marko is known for his actionable advice always focusing on results for his clients. He advises the RevThink portfolio on new business development and is the author of Promise Positioning .

Marko’s thought leadership helps creative studios to stand out in a crowded marketplace while his forthcoming accelerator course on pitching will teach the unconventional process by which top agencies win dream clients.

Reach out to Marko at [email protected].

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