Goodbye, Elevator Pitch; Hello, 17-second Challenge
Let’s say you have 17 seconds to make a convincing, credible and concise point. Could you do it? I often pose this question to printers and promotional companies around the country. They don’t enjoy what I call the “17-second challenge” at the moment, but, in time, they will tell me how much it helped them reflect and change. I hope it does the same for you and makes you think at a deeper level.
I came up with this concept after hearing the term “elevator pitch” (an approximate 20- to 30-second pitch) one too many times. You see, 17 seconds is the most time you have to communicate something to another person before he or she loses interest. And honestly, 17 seconds is probably generous in a noisy world filled with short attention spans.
So, without using the words “price,” “service” or “quality,” I challenge you to share why someone should buy from you or your organization over the countless other choices that offer much of the same thing—in 17 seconds or less. What is it about you or your company that is unique? What is your DSF (Differentiating Sales Factor)? For goodness sake, would you buy from you?
The reason you cannot mention “price,” “service” or quality is because they are buzzwords. Let me let you in on a little secret: Buyers simply do not desire to hear those three words. They are expected and make your pitch sound the same as everyone else's. Now, service is beginning to become a lost art; however, for the sake of this exercise we will stay away from it, as well.
Be sure to time yourself when doing this exercise for the first time. Don’t prepare or write something down in advance—do it as if you had to speak on the spot. This will make it real. The clock is ticking (no pun intended). In all seriousness, think through this question, and begin. GO! Remember, you have 17 seconds.
Could you think of compelling reason(s) why you should get the business over all the other similar options available to a buyer? Ask yourself these questions: So what? Why you? Who cares? I am eager to see what you come up with and if you could do it in the time allotted.
Let me know how you did. Regardless of how you fared, I have something for you that will help you improve in this exercise. Connect with me directly, and I will send to you. Have a great week!
Ryan T. Sauers has spent 25 years leading and/or consulting with printing, graphics, promotional and visual communications related organizations. Ryan is President of the independent consulting firm, Sauers Consulting Strategies, founded in 2010.
Key areas of focus of the firm include: sales training, marketing strategy, personal branding, leadership development and organizational change.
Sauers is a frequent national speaker and columnist. He has been recognized as one of the top 80 CMOs in the world and achieved the top designation of Certified Marketing Executive through Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Sauers is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and communication courses to current and aspiring leaders. He is a Certified Myers Briggs, DiSC and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (one of few in US to achieve all 3 rigorous certifications related to human communications, personality & behavior).
Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and hosts a radio show in Atlanta (Marketing Matters). He is author of the best-selling books Everyone is in Sales and Would You Buy from You? More info at: RyanSauers.com