When Every Second Counts

Wikipedia defines an elevator speech as “a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.” Every business needs one. Moreover, unless you only hang out  on the top floors of very tall buildings, you need to be able to delivery your elevator speech in 30 seconds or less.

I have recognized for some time that my elevator speech needed some work. Frankly, it lacked punch and left audiences wondering exactly how I could help them. In the process of “sprucing it up” a little, I came across a blog post by my good friend John Carroll of Tres Coaching (http://www.trescoach.com/) in Keller Texas. John wrote an article on June 20 titled “Are you Speaking to me?” that nailed the issue of elevator speeches so well that I got his permission to share it with you.

John writes:

Three important elements that lead to success in a typical networking setting when positioning yourself, your business and your value proposition to other group members include:

  1. Preparation and planning,
  2. Tailoring the message to your audience, and
  3. Follow-up.

This article will address #2 “Tailoring the message to your audience”, and I will provide you with some ideas and an example that should help you raise your profile, obtain more quality referrals and effectively promote your business through networking.

Far too often, I see people just going through the motions when it comes to their networking activities. You know what I’m talking about. When it’s time for 30-second introductions they start with their name,  business name and offer little additional information to enable them to connect with the audience. What a waste of time!

Your 30-second introduction is the entry point upon which to build those great new business relationships, so take the time to do it right.

A 30-second introduction should answer three important questions, “Why should I do business with you?” and “How can I help you?” and finally, “Are you speaking to me?” It is important to tailor the message to  your audience, so people don’t walk away scratching their heads trying to figure out what you’re all about and to whom you are speaking.

Now, what do I mean by tailoring the message to your audience? Glad you asked.

In a typical networking setting there are four groups represented – potential customers, partners, suppliers and DNAs (Does Not Apply). So, don’t get up and just ‘spray and pray’ when it is time for your introduction. Recognize that how you speak to a potential customer is different than a prospective partner or supplier, and your message should reflect those subtleties and differences. Targeted group members in the audience should be keenly aware that you are speaking directly to them by what you say and how you say it.

Here’s an example of a 30-second introduction that a branding/marketing expert might use to promote their services and target new prospective clients …

“Effective marketing is much more than a slick brochure or a high-tech web site. More importantly, it’s about connecting prospective buyers with your business, and delivering measurable results.

At (Your Company Name), we are experts at helping clients find the right “connections” with their customers, so they buy more and more often.

If you are a small business owner and want to improve your marketing results, please see me after (breakfast, lunch, etc.) to schedule a FREE evaluation to determine how we can help.

(Your Name) with (Your Company Name) – from great ideas to your bottom-line.”

The above example answers the three important questions, and it is clear you are speaking to those small business owners in the audience who want to improve their marketing results.

Similarly, if your target audience is potential new partners or new suppliers, your message should reflect what is important to those particular groups and not be generic. Tailoring the message to your target audience should enable you to build positive new business relationships through networking and obtain more quality referrals.

I hope the information contained in this article has been helpful. Please share any additional thoughts and comments here that you think would be valuable.

Enjoy the journey!

John

COPYRIGHT © 2011 John Carroll

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