Okay that’s a gruesome headline but it asks a question relating to a problem that I see far too many people make when describing their business to others. You know, the elevator pitch.
Think back to the last networking event you attended. How many people did you encounter that couldn’t wait to answer the question, “What do you do?” by describing every last details of their product or service before even finding out if you were interested?
You know the type. “We make a revolutionary carbonite drill-bit that will work in any industrial application and can be retrofitted to metric or imperial engineering and will work on wood, masonry, steel or precious metals and it can withstand temperatures ranging from 0 to 400 degrees and it comes in six colors with theft-resistant packaging at price points ranging from ….” Meanwhile you start looking for the nearest exit.
Then there are the people that are a little smarter. Or they’ve been coached to give their ‘elevator pitch’ in a concise statement. But if you so much as nod your head when they’re done, brevity goes out the window and they start spewing out features and benefits faster than the legal disclaimer at the end of a pharmaceutical ad.
Or maybe you even do this yourself. If so, you’re not alone.
Lead with your #1 Benefit
A lot of people hear this one, then they get it wrong.
I was working with a client recently and asked him to describe what he did for his clients. He replied, “I provide them with their 504-D or 506, their PPM, their subscription docs or their convertible promissory notes”.
“And what exactly are those?,” I asked. (I actually knew but realized most people he encountered wouldn’t).
“They’re legal compliance documents… you know so people can raise capital,” he said.
“What happens if they don’t have those documents?,” I asked.
“They can be heavily fined, lose their business and even be imprisoned,” he replied.
“So there’s your #1 benefit. While you’re providing necessary documents, few business owners are seeking more paperwork but they do want and need the security those documents provide,” I said.
His new elevator speech goes like this, “I help business owners like you stay out of jail and avoid losing your business.”
When the prospect shows interest (and they almost always do) and asks to hear more, he still keeps it short and sweet by telling them he helps with the paperwork and filings needed to legally raise capital. Then he pauses to see if there’s further interest. Only if and when asked, does he get into specifics.
If the person turns out to not be a prospect, he’s given them enough info about what he does to refer others to him in the future when they’re doing their own collaborative networking.
Think about the key benefit you’re providing clients and create a new, concise elevator pitch that’s one or two sentences long.
So let’s hear your elevator pitch in the comments section below or if you can think of examples from other businesses, feel free to share those, too.