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How’s Your Elevator Pitch?


Hi Everyone,

Now that the national health care reform package is about to be finalized, most of us who own small businesses are obviously concerned about the costs of this overhaul, and this concern could result in hesitation to hire. If that’s you, consider Daybreak Virtual Staffing as an alternative to hiring in-house clerical staff until we see how this new program plays out.

THE ELEVATOR PITCH: Those of us who network frequently are very familiar with the importance of this brief (+/- 30 second) introduction of our business to a potential client. As important as this is, many of us have problems being concise and effective in using this critically important tool. After all, if you can capture someone’s attention, they’ll listen. And if you don’t, you’ll quickly lose them as they think about everything but what you’re telling them. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned.

To begin, understand I am NOT a business coach or adviser. (I do know some excellent coaches and advisers. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll make an introduction). I’m simply someone who has struggled with trying to come up with an effective elevator pitch that will generate interest in my business without appearing pushy, obnoxious, misleading or boring. So let’s try to walk through this process together and see what we can learn.

THE SCENARIO: You’re at a networking event and you come across someone who would be a perfect client for your business. You engage in a conversation and after some pleasantries, the person asks “So what do you do?”

You get excited! Your pulse rushes and your pupils constrict as you think “This is it!! Once I explain what I do and how good I am, he’ll have almost no choice but to ask me for a contract to sign on the spot!”

And you say: “I own a virtual staffing company and I can save you money!” Then you wait for your prospect to tell you that you’re the answer to exactly what he needs. You hold your breath as he says: “That’s very interesting. Ummm, I think I left my car running outside – I’ll be right back.” (As he walks away, it doesn’t even occur to you that you’re in the middle of Manhattan, so the chance of his running car even being where he left it is a long shot!!)

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THAT APPROACH? It was egotistical and self-serving; focusing on you rather than the client. You need to be able to position yourself as a problem solver. You’ll do this by communicating what you do in ways that will help him understand that you are a solution to his problem.

Small business owners are almost like a club. Just like you, every business owner that you meet is struggling with issues and problems. It’s inevitable in any business climate, but even moreso in this one. So whenever you speak to someone about your business, realize it’s all about them! And that’s all that matters. If you can help identify a problem, and if you have a viable solution, you’ll have an audience. Period! If all you’re going to do is talk AT the person (or worse, hand out a business card as you walk past, forget it – don’t bother networking. Your time could be better spent home watching TV).

You’ll want to quickly share some information about your company:

  • What type of clients/customers do you work with?
  • What problems do you solve?
  • What solutions do you provide?
  • What benefits do you offer?
  • What results do you produce?
  • What guarantee do you offer?
  • And what differentiates you from your competition?

SOME THINGS NOT TO DO:

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Mar
24
How’s Your Elevator Pitch?

Hi Everyone,

Now that the national health care reform package is about to be finalized, most of us who own small businesses are obviously concerned about the costs of this overhaul, and this concern could result in hesitation to hire. If that’s you, consider Daybreak Virtual Staffing as an alternative to hiring in-house clerical staff until we see how this new program plays out.

THE ELEVATOR PITCH: Those of us who network frequently are very familiar with the importance of this brief (+/- 30 second) introduction of our business to a potential client. As important as this is, many of us have problems being concise and effective in using this critically important tool. After all, if you can capture someone’s attention, they’ll listen. And if you don’t, you’ll quickly lose them as they think about everything but what you’re telling them. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned.

To begin, understand I am NOT a business coach or adviser. (I do know some excellent coaches and advisers. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll make an introduction). I’m simply someone who has struggled with trying to come up with an effective elevator pitch that will generate interest in my business without appearing pushy, obnoxious, misleading or boring. So let’s try to walk through this process together and see what we can learn.

THE SCENARIO: You’re at a networking event and you come across someone who would be a perfect client for your business. You engage in a conversation and after some pleasantries, the person asks “So what do you do?”

You get excited! Your pulse rushes and your pupils constrict as you think “This is it!! Once I explain what I do and how good I am, he’ll have almost no choice but to ask me for a contract to sign on the spot!”

And you say: “I own a virtual staffing company and I can save you money!” Then you wait for your prospect to tell you that you’re the answer to exactly what he needs. You hold your breath as he says: “That’s very interesting. Ummm, I think I left my car running outside – I’ll be right back.” (As he walks away, it doesn’t even occur to you that you’re in the middle of Manhattan, so the chance of his running car even being where he left it is a long shot!!)

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THAT APPROACH? It was egotistical and self-serving; focusing on you rather than the client. You need to be able to position yourself as a problem solver. You’ll do this by communicating what you do in ways that will help him understand that you are a solution to his problem.

Small business owners are almost like a club. Just like you, every business owner that you meet is struggling with issues and problems. It’s inevitable in any business climate, but even moreso in this one. So whenever you speak to someone about your business, realize it’s all about them! And that’s all that matters. If you can help identify a problem, and if you have a viable solution, you’ll have an audience. Period! If all you’re going to do is talk AT the person (or worse, hand out a business card as you walk past, forget it – don’t bother networking. Your time could be better spent home watching TV).

You’ll want to quickly share some information about your company:

What type of clients/customers do you work with?
What problems do you solve?
What solutions do you provide?
What benefits do you offer?
What results do you produce?
What guarantee do you offer?
And what differentiates you from your competition?

SOME THINGS NOT TO DO:

1) DON’T USE YOUR TITLE: For instance, don’t say “I’m a business coach” or “I’m a financial adviser” or “I own a virtual staffing company.” People will immediately place you in a stereotyped box; assuming they know exactly what you do and how you do it, even if they don’t have a clue. For instance, when I simply say that I offer “virtual staffing,” people quickly assume they’ll be either getting a virtual assistant (probably from India), or perhaps a computerized answering service. (In reality, Daybreak offers a full virtual team, American based, that is supervised by the virtual assistant assigned to the client).

2) DON’T TALK ABOUT HOW YOU DO WHAT YOU DO. Nobody cares unless they happen to ask, which is unlikely. For instance, don’t say: “I own a virtual staffing company and we use really neat technology, like a VOIP PBX system that can almost do tricks and a CRM program that was custom built for us, as well as all the latest internet tools for collaboration, training and customer satisfaction.”

  • It may be that the technology is amazing (it really is), and that you’ve spent a fortune on it (I have), but no one, at least at this point, cares about it but you. Remember, it’s all about them. At this point, all they want to know is whether or not you can solve their problem. Later on they might be interested in some of the “hows”, but probably not yet.

ONE THING YOU MUST DO: Communicate the problem, and then provide the solution.

As mentioned above, everyone at a networking event is just like you. They are either looking for prospective clients, or looking for cost effective solutions to their own problems and challenges. (Or they could be looking for a date, but that’s for another post!!). What they don’t want is a hard sell, or a lie, or misleading nonsense. So you need to be as specific and brief as possible. If you can relay a solution quickly and clearly that touches a problem they’re dealing with, you’ll get their full attention in a heartbeat. And that will lead the way to further conversations, including a discussion of all that neat technology that you’re dying to talk about!

FOR INSTANCE: You might say “I work primarily with three types of small business owners:

  • Those who are struggling with payroll costs;
  • Those who don’t yet have employees but are overwhelmed and exhausted trying to keep up with their business;
  • And those who have actually missed business opportunities and deadlines because they lack office or administrative support.”

THE SOLUTION: “I give small business owners a personalized, significantly cost alternative to hiring in-house clerical staff. By providing them with well trained off-site staff, the savings can be as much as 30% less than hiring in-house staff. We give full time coverage for a part time fee, and we assure satisfaction with a money back guarantee. For very small businesses, we even have plans beginning as low as $200/month.”

At this point, it’s in the prospect’s ballpark. If your service provides a solution to his needs, he’ll likely ask you how you do this. If he’s not interested, then perhaps your service is not for him at this time. But maybe he’s a potential referral partner or possibly someone who can solve one of your problems. It really is a two-way street. Remember why you’re at the networking event yourself: To either find a client, or to find someone who can help you solve a problem.

To close, let me remind you again that it’s all about your customer. Ask questions and listen carefully. If you do this well, you could be developing a mutually beneficial long-term business relationship.

Thank you for taking the time to ready this. I hope you’ll continue the conversation by sharing some of the interactions that have worked well for you, and those that haven’t. On the other hand, what approaches have worked well to get YOUR attention, and what turned you off.

Best regards,

Jeff Mehl

Jeffrey T. Mehl
President
Daybreak Office Solutions, LLC
Daybreak Virtual Offic