Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Elevator speech

I know the words above or the oft used alternative of “elevator pitch” has some people cringing already. They know few people want to listen to a speech that they didn’t ask to listen to and no one wants to be pitched to, unless they are standing at home plate. Others cringe at the mere thought of having to give a “speech” even if it is short with a limited audience.
When you look at what an elevator speech is designed to do, perhaps it should be called an introduction. Regardless of what it is called, the idea is to give an introduction to you, your product and/or your service in such a way as to generate interest in the other party.

How do you get the desired response of “I’d like to hear more,” “how do you do that,” “when can we discuss this in more depth,” “that’s exciting,” and ultimately “how can you help me?”

Start with what excites you about a person that is introducing themselves or their product or service. Is it their credentials? I doubt it. Is it their awards? Probably not. Is it their long or short history? Short is better than long in this case, but it still is not exciting. The thing that is going to be exciting to anyone and everyone is how the person makes your life better.  

Next, when you are crafting your introduction, get to the point immediately. Background information can come later, but if you haven’t gotten to the point you may have lost their attention (or they got off the elevator) and the point will be missed. This is not the time to do a set up for the point.

There is an old rule of thumb for putting a speech together: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you have told them. The repetition allows the message to be understood more completely and in today’s instant gratification and short attention span world, it means you get the message to them before losing their attention.

For the intro or elevator speech it looks like this; Tell them what you are going to tell them - I’m ___________. I or my product or service (create, enhance, solve… ) _______________ by __________________. If appropriate and time permits tell them (a story of where you or your product or service created, enhanced or solved…) ____________________________ and tell them what you told them.______________________________

So it comes out like this: I’m John McClung. I help companies increase their revenues by strategically changing their offerings, marketing and sales. (If I have to stop right here, I’ve made the essential point and if they want to increase revenues, they are ready for more) By changing the offerings of a wholesale distributor I was able to increase direct revenues by approximately $24,000,000. Changing the marketing for a builder led to more than doubling their revenues and developing a local sales training program for a national real estate company resulted in record setting sales growth in a down market. I’d love to talk with you about how we could increase you revenues.