Sunday, August 16, 2009

You Only Have 30 Seconds

Can You Describe In 100 Words Or Less What You Do And How It Is Relevant To Your Prospects – From Their Perspective?

When initially speaking with prospective customers, you typically have 30 seconds or less to not only get their attention, but establish a reason for them to engage in a conversation. During your “30 second commercial” you must let prospects know what you do and more importantly, why it’s relevant to them.

So, what do you say? Have you perfected your commercial highlighting key features and associated benefits of your product or service? When you give your pitch to prospects, do you obtain a favorable reaction? Probably not. At best you may hear, “That’s interesting” – even though they really aren’t interested. You may get a request for information as a way to end the encounter.

Why does this happen? Prospects have seen and heard it all before – radio, email, and direct mail marketing and advertising. Your commercial is just more of the same. Regardless of how unique, timely, and important you believe your message is, it’s just more noise to the prospect.
Unfortunately, your finely crafted commercial hurts you in two ways. First and foremost, it diminishes your credibility. You’re not someone who stands out from the pack, scrounging for your morsel. Second, you waste valuable time – yours and the prospect’s.

So how do you change the prospect’s response from “Send me some literature” to “ We need to talk”? Stop telling prospects about your company and your products or service. Stop telling them what you can do for them. Make it about them. If a prospect is going to invest any time talking with you, he wants to very quickly know “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM)

Use your 30 seconds to focus on the prospect’s world. Relate your product or service from the perspective of the problems and issues the prospect is dealing with or the goals the prospect is attempting to achieve. This approach establishes credibility by quickly getting to WIIFM question – distinguishing you from the rest of the pack. When prospects believe that you understand their problems, concerns, challenges and goals, they listen – making it easier to convert your 30 second commercial into a meaningful conversation.

To truly understand your prospects’ worlds, you must do your homework. You must be thoroughly familiar with their problems, concerns, fears, challenges, and goals as they relate to your product or service. You must know that the prospect would lose by not having your product or service. Then, you can create a description of your product or service around those elements, making sure to answer the WIIFM question.

Consider the following “commercial” for a company specializing in marketing and graphic design services for hi-tech companies:
  • We specialize in marketing and graphic design services for hi-tech firms who have a need , but not the resources, for a full-time, in-house department.

  • And, they need a company who already speaks their technical language so they don’t waste valuable time – time they would have billed for – educating company personnel in order for them to produce appropriate and accurate copy.

  • Because our design people have extensive backgrounds and experience in a number of hi-tech fields, we already speak our clients’ language and we’re able to help them develop and implement projects more quickly and economically.

The first sentence describes the type of work done, the companies served, and the reason a company might want the service. The next sentence address a particular challenge a prospect might be facing. The last sentence describes the value the design firm can provide.

It is short, and to the point. It very quickly answers the question, “Who is this person and why should I listen to him?” If your commercial doesn’t answer that question, your prospect will quickly tune out.

Can you describe in 100 words or less what you do and how it is relevant to your prospects – from their perspective? (The above example is 97 words.) Your opening statement will either draw prospects into the conversation or turn them away. So carefully consider what you are saying. Are you quickly answering their WIIFM question? Are you putting your product or service in the prospects’ world and telling the story from his perspective?

Whether you call it an elevator pitch, a commercial, or a position statement, a carefully considered and constructed opening with a prospect – one that focuses on the prospect’s world and the prospect’s issues – can make the difference between a prospect remaining a prospect or becoming a customer. Your 30-second commercial will become an invaluable tool that will help you make more meaningful connections in a variety of situations, including networking events, trade shows, voicemail messages, emails introductions, and cold calls. Crafting this commercial will help you make more connections and make the most of every opportunity.

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