marketing & sales: The Incredible Power of an Elevator Speech
Why should someone spend time with you?" That was the question I asked the six salespeople who were the subjects of an intense week-long training session. The response? Blank stares. Some uncomfortable fidgeting. Nothing anywhere close to a coherent, persuasive response.
That experience made me realize the need for what I call a "value-added proposition," and what many people refer to as an "elevator speech." It is a well-thought-out, meticulously prepared and memorized set of ideas that ultimately answers the question above. It should exist in several different versions:
1. A one-page (250 words or so) description of:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why your customers and prospects should care
2. A 30-word version (distilled from the 250) that should be memorized by everyone who has contact with the customer.
3. A four- to eight-word version that can accompany every communication, from website advertising to face-to-face interactions.
Why the Elevator Pitch Matters
"Five minutes or it's free." That was the banner hanging over the fast-food restaurant near my house. I noticed it as I drove past one day. Interesting. In a mini-environment of intense competition (there must be a dozen fast-food options within a mile of this road), they chose to focus on one aspect of their offering—speed—and turn it into a value-added proposition. In a world of other options for the customer, they chose to take their strength, turn it into a benefit for the customer and boil that down to say to the customer, "Buy it from us. We'll guarantee quick service."
It had its desired impact. I noticed the banner and decided to stop in for breakfast. The waitress took my order, recorded the time on the order pad and handed me a stop watch. I took up the challenge, clicked it on and waited to see if they would perform. The order arrived within five minutes. I saw the waitress look at her watch and note the delivery time on the order pad.