When attending a Chamber of Commerce breakfast networking get-together, I’m always perplexed by the lack of thought and preparation many business owners display when giving a 60-second overview of their business. These people have spent enormous amounts of time, money, and energy on their businesses. Yet, when asked to give a quick synopsis, they fumble for the right words, they ramble, they go off on a tangent, the information is disjointed, or the words are boring and seemingly unimportant.
Their performance creates a very poor representation of what is otherwise a very good business. Listeners have forgotten the pitch before it’s even over!
Some people have a natural gift for speaking well extemporaneously, and they manage the process with great self-control. But, for the other 80% to 90%, it’s a different story. They muff important opportunities over and over in many daily situations. They frequently miss the chance to make valuable business connections or to develop brand new prospects and customers.
Very few business people make the effort to script out a compelling 60-Second Elevator Script (60 seconds is the time you have to meet someone new in an elevator!) that’s committed to memory and is able to be delivered at a moment’s notice. However, it’s so simple to do, and it’s one of the most effective marketing tactics you can employ.
Everyone knows the importance of first impressions during the first few seconds of meeting someone new – – – whether it’s how you dress, the sound of your voice, or the words you use. A concise, well-stated business pitch costs you absolutely nothing to develop, except for a little time, some thought, and, of course, memorization.
I use a simple four-step process when scripting these pitches for clients:
Begin with a sentence or two that achieves the same result as a headline in a good ad. It attracts attention because it Interrupts the listener with information that has emotional meaning, usually something that deals with problems, frustrations, and annoyances of your target market.
Follow on with another sentence that Engages the listener by offering a promise of upcoming information that is important and relevant.
Next, give a quick overview that Educates your listener about exactly what you do that’s unique compared to industry competitors. You could even include a brief example. Keynote the things that differentiate your business.
Finally, conclude with a sentence or two that Offers the listener the chance to obtain more information. The offer should be risk-free and uncomplicated.
Craft and refine your 60-second elevator pitch (realistically 1 to 2 minutes). Get everyone in your company to memorize it as a condition of employment. (You can even provide small incentives to pass the test.) You and your staff will then be able to give the prefect presentation of your business whenever the time is right: at a business meeting, in front of prospects, on an airplane, at a trade show, as an on-hold phone message, at a party. It’s a great conversation starter. When it becomes your universally used marketing tool, you’ll have a coordinated staff that’s totally at ease with the topic, and the perception of your business by everyone outside your company will soar to new heights!
Good luck with your marketing efforts.
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