Do You Have A Precise Elevator Speech?

A Concern From A Desk of Gman Reader:

I have what I consider a clear "elevator speech" or "value proposition." What I am not so confident of is my ability to express in the next 2-3 minutes what I can do for a client. What I do is pretty complex and depends on the client's need but I seem to fumble the explanation.

This is not unique. In the absence of specific details on the client situation, needs, capacity for change, resources, and history, it often requires some restraint for a sales, management or customer service not to reply "it depends" in response to an inquiry of "what can you do for me?"

Where we get tied up is in balancing a clear general response with our wealth of knowledge and experience in similar situations. This is not the time to tell everything you know, especially since, until you know more about the situation, your experience may or may not be relevant, or the information premature.

Try this. Explain to a high school senior or college freshman what service you provide to managers and businesses. Ask them to explain back to you what you do, and be open to clarifying questions. Once you can explain your service in a way that doesn't require specialized knowledge, you will have the basis for a 2- 3 minute introduction to your services.

Several years ago I was the guest speaker for a Professional Employer Organization which is known as a PEO.  In attendance were owners and managers of various PEO companies in the Midwest.  I began the 3 hour event by going around the room and asking EVERY owner to describe their business.  “WHAT DO YOU REALLY DO?”  Nobody could give me a definitive answer past the usual, “give great service, take the worries off your shoulders, do your paperwork, etc.”  And this makes my point exactly.  If you can’t describe yourself and/or your company in a very few short lines, all you are doing is contributing to an upcoming misunderstanding.

Removing all the jargon, historical examples, and arcane references to the best practices literature on consulting will give you a clear, understandable and concise pitch that connects on an emotional, not intellectual, level. Ask your staff to define, “who are we?”  Refine that and put it into logical, coherent and meaningful sentences.

As always, I wish you a tremendous week of growth, good health and prosperity.


George F. Mancuso


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