Countless articles have been written regarding the “elevator pitch’; a quick google search lists over 3.3 million results. Despite all this information, most of the ones we hear are woefully inadequate. Just ask your co-worker to recite his or hers – you’ll likely be subjected a stammering, inarticulate description of what they do, or what their product offers in terms of features and benefits. Many business persons try to “product dump” everything they can in the span of 30 seconds, hoping one of the items catches your interest.
This is the worst possible way to grab someone’s attention, for a number of reasons:
• Due to the daily barrage of information, business professionals have trained their brains to look for exclusions rather than opportunities. In other words, they are seeking to disqualify what you offer rather than find something they would like to discuss. This is simply due to the lack of time and energy available for each new day; it is a protective reflex to prevent their time from being wasted.
• As soon as they hear you say “systems”, “training”, or any other item they can align with something they already have or do, you are tuned out. You are offering them something they don’t need.
• Excitedly dumping a bunch of products or services denotes desperation and a lack of confidence, not value. Your competitors are selling the same thing you are, so a list of these items does not differentiate you from the masses.
You have about 10 seconds to make an impression. Remember, people do not buy what you do – they buy into why you do it, and what you believe in. If at the end of your first statement, they aren’t asking “How do you do that”, you have lost them. Your job is to get their brain to question, not eliminate. I will use my own experience with this as an example:
When I first started this company, I was excited to enumerate all the great ways in which we could help businesses. Upon being asked what I “do”, I would tell them all about the exciting ways in which we install revenue systems, staff training, reporting to gauge results, P & L analysis, etc. – you could literally see their eyes glaze over during my 30 second, rambling description. They heard staff training and thought “we have that already”. Perhaps they heard me say, “reporting systems” and again disqualified me, since all companies have reporting systems. Nothing I said was inspirational, nor did I tell them who I was or what I believed in – I just bored them with my process, and my elevator pitch crashed as if a cable had snapped.
Compare this with the way we describe our company now:
“Everything we do is predicated on the belief that small to medium sized companies should be able to compete toe to toe with large ones”. How do we do this? (thank you for asking!) “We do this by enabling these companies to leverage the strengths of larger organizations without incurring the costs associated with layers of payroll and bureaucracy”.
This new method invariably leads to questions and further discussion, which is all you set out to obtain in the first place. Start thinking of why you do what you do, and what you believe in. You will be proud to describe it, and that is a very inspirational presentation – one that people can buy into.
For a free one-hour consultation on this or any other business question, please contact us today.