Can you really sell a product, service or idea in 30 seconds? With the rare exception, the answer to that question is “NO.”
The title of this post is intentionally misleading. The word ‘sell’ has many different connotations, many of them negative. The intention here is for you to think differently about the concept of sales and selling.
In the case of ‘selling in less than 30 seconds,’ the idea is to sell the idea of continuing a conversation. Think of sales like the dating process. When you meet someone in a social setting, do you typically walk up to that person and say, “Hi, I’m (fill in your name). Nice to meet you. Wanna go home with me?
Time Out! I’m not naïve. I know that if you’re a woman reading this, you may have been on the receiving end of that type of question, more than once. The point here is, as a general rule, the question ‘Wanna go home with me?’ is not used right away when meeting someone the first time. There’s a process you go through:
- You meet, and introduce yourself
- If that first meeting goes well, you set a time to get together for coffee, or a drink
- If you like each other at that point, you agree to have lunch or dinner
- If that meal works out well, you then set another date
- And the process continues until you eventually commit to one another or go your separate ways.
Selling follows the same track. In order to create interest, you must get past the first step. This is where most people drop the ball. They usually start a conversation with their title and job description, or immediately started talking about the product or service they sell. In other words, they’re asking the other person “Wanna go home with me?” far too soon.
What should you say when you first meet someone? There is no magic bullet, or magical phrase. The key is to couch your conversation in terms of the benefit you provide to others.
For instance, rather than tell people “I’m a speech coach,” or “I’m a sales trainer” I tell them:
“I work with financial professionals to attract more qualified clients, and close business faster.”
Guess what? It works! The majority of the time, the response I receive is something like “How do you do that?”
That’s what I want to hear. That question is essentially saying, “Let’s keep talking, I might be interested.” In an era where people are bombarded every day by sales and marketing messages, this is the point where you can stand out by slowing the conversation and making a connection.
That’s all there is to starting the conversation, and selling with a story in less than 30 seconds.
As you structure your introductory statement, focus on these two points:
- Who do you want to work with? (In my case, it’s financial planners)
- Tell the benefit you provide (In my case, it’s ‘attract more qualified clients’ and ‘close business faster’). As a former Certified Financial Planner, I know that these are two of the top challenges planners face.
Can you sell a product or service in less than 30 seconds? No. But you can sell an idea – the idea of continuing a conversation which can eventually lead to establishing a business relationship that benefits your client and you.
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