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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elevator Speech

So there you a conference. It's all about networking. Remember the earlier A.B.C. blog (A = Always B = Be C = Closing)? Someone initiates conversation (isn't that nice for once?!), noticed your name tag and asks, "What do you guys do?"

What's your answer? You better come back with something special or ABC is out the window.

For most business owners, getting to the crux of what they really do is the hardest, yet potentially most rewarding, one-minute conversation they will ever have. In that shortest of time spans, potential customers, vendors, and employees will make a complete assessment, deciding then and there if your company, products or services are worth pursuing.

Why? Because it's all the time they have to open windows and doors of opportunity. Make it count and avoid the traps. Here's a couple to avoid:

Trap #1 The Sweeping Generality

A typical sweeping generality goes something likes this... "We're into enterprise management consulting". The response? (pick one):

-Unintentional fainting.
-Look down at watch.
-Leave with a nice 'don't call me' parting of the ways.

Solution: Add some ummmph! While coordinating a business conference in Dubai a few years back, I heard an ABC expert describe her work in the philanthropic field, setting up foundations and putting together partnerships. When I asked her specifically what she did, she simply smiled and replied "I make miracles happen."

Bottom line? I love miracles!

You can bet I followed up and keep in touch with her as she worked toward making a difference in the world. Her work was varied, but her moniker was consistent...MIRACLES.

Trap #2: The Kitchen Sink

The most common trap is to try and list everything you do. The proverbial kitchen sink..."We sell, service and maintain new and used mechanical parts and fittings for the plant automation industry."

The reply? "Thank you...nice to meet you!"

Solution: Like everything else in branding, your elevator speech should convey the essence of what you do, not just a descriptive phrase. It should stress the benefits of what you do, not the features, i.e., "selling the sizzle, not the steak".

In short, look for the solution or benefits your products and services provide. A great elevator speech might have gone something like "we keep the world's factories running efficiently." Once you get the "how do you do that?", you can roll forward with a condensed kitchen sink conversation.

Moving Forward

Make it a goal this week to develop a one to two sentence statement that sums up the benefits of what you offer. Avoid dry, purely descriptive statements and go for the "Wow!" factor.

Or just call me at and I can help.