A Common Selling Mistake
Last Wednesday afternoon, I attended a typical networking event. I listened to people share their version of an ‘elevator’ pitch – their 30-second ‘commercials.’ Point of clarification – they were supposed to be 30-seconds long. And, as I feared, many of them used this event to start selling their services.
They didn’t follow the guidelines. They stood up and spoke for a minute or longer.
As I listened to speaker after speaker, two issues became clear:
- They were missing an opportunity to stand out. At 60 to 90-seconds, they were violating the rules of the exercise. This irritates others and hurts your credibility
- I had no idea how most of the speakers could help me. They were too busy telling us everything about themselves. They were using traditional “selling” techniques that have been proven not to work.
Why Does This Selling Approach Hurt You?
This group did not understand the purpose of a 30-second talk. Unfortunately, they are not alone. Every day, all over the world, people are committing this same mistake. They mistakenly believe that talking about themselves is the key to creating interest. They miss an opportunity to make an impact because they are essentially saying the same things as their competitors.
Every gathering you attend is an opportunity to shine. Or be forgotten. At every event, your goal should be the same:
Let people know the benefits you can provide to THEM
This is one of the most important business lessons I’ve learned. I discovered the hard way that when you first meet people, they do not care about you, your company or your products and service.
They will care once they know how you can help them.
This explained why my old 30-second commercials failed. No one cared that “I am an author, speech coach and professional speaker.” Or, that “Speaking CPR helps you breathe life into your lifeless presentations.”
What they wanted was to know was:
How can you make my life better?
This insight enabled me to create a better 30-second talk. I used this brief formula to restructure it:
- Mention a common problem that business professionals face (one that I solve)
- Introduce yourself and your company name
- Offer a ‘big picture’ explanation of the benefits I provide
- Focus on the listener with the word “you” (or variation) as many times as possible
My new 30-second talk now addresses their concerns:
“Your ability to confidently stand up and speak in front of a group of any size is one of the most important business skills you can develop. My name is Michael Davis of Speaking CPR. I provide you with a 5-step process that you can use to develop and deliver presentations that encourage people to do business with you.”
In 22 seconds I get people’s attention – if they want to attract more clients or customers. The benefit I promise triggers the question “How do you do that?” They’ll typically seek me out to talk further about how I can help.
And that’s what I want! The purpose of these elevator-type pitches isn’t to close business or make a sale on-the-spot. It’s to create enough interest in your work that people want to sit down and talk with you further.
When creating your next commercial remember to use the four steps listed above. Focus on the other person and the benefits you provide. You’ll increase your odds of creating interest in what you do.
‘Be Your Best on the TEDx Stage’
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