Jill Konrath, a US sales expert, talks about how to formulate your elevator speech in this blog post. The advice is good—but I think a crucial element is missing: the YOU aspect, in other words, starting from the customer point of view. Here's the comment I wrote.
If you really want to get someone interested, you need to address the issues that are important to them. Nobody is interested in you, they want to know What's In It For Me (WIIFM). Every one of us efficiently tunes out of anything that begins with "I" or "we" because we instinctively know what's going to follow will be self-serving.
Therefore, turn your thinking 180 degrees:
"I work with people who are struggling to sell their products or services into large corporate accounts." → "If you have trouble selling your product or service to big corporate buyers, you might like to get a few ideas about how to do it successfully."
"I help small businesses win big contracts with large corporate customers." → "It's painful that a small seller often gets looked down upon by big corporations. But you know, you totally can win those big contracts. Want to know how?"
"I help technology companies who struggle launching important new products into the market and want to improve their time-to-profitability." → "Many tech companies' biggest problem is how to start making money from their new product launches. If you'd like to become profitable more quickly, could we talk?"
There's always a way to start the discussion from the "you" point of view, instead of I this or we that.
Are your marketing materials listing what you do—or are you showing how you can solve your prospects' problems?
Originally published 2014-01-22, updated 2019-06-30
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