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The Crucial Question Most Business Owners Get Wrong

By March 10, 2016Education & Resources

“What do you do?” How do you answer that question? Most people get the answer wrong because they answer the question from the wrong perspective.

One of the most fundamental things that you can do to improve your efforts to connect with prospective clients is to craft a better 30-second commercial. Prospecting for new clients is the lifeblood of business growth and a concise explanation of why clients hire you is key to effective prospecting, whether meeting new people at an event or making cold calls.

However, while it only takes 30 seconds to deliver, most small business owners have never taken the time to craft a really good 30-second commercial (or even better, several different versions) that is both concise and causes their ideal prospects to want to learn more.

The goal of the 30 second commercial is not to sell anything, but rather to spark your prospect’s curiosity and interest in a further conversation. The commercial should cause your prospects to want to know more. Because of this, it must be concise and it must not bore them. We’ve all met the person who, upon first meeting us, talked for five minutes about what he did and all we wanted to do was get away. Don’t be that person!

You probably aren’t that person. However, your “elevator pitch” may still be missing the mark, because if you are like most people, you are describing what they you do from your perspective, not that of your clients and prospects. The truth is that your prospects may not care at all about what you do unless they can envision how it would help them.

Instead of telling prospects what you do, tell them the problems you solve. Interview your current clients and ask them what problems they were experiencing that you solved or what they were missing out that on before they found you, and why they hired you and then incorporate those points into your 30 second commercial.

The most successful 30 second commercials feature these elements:

  • Introduction – the name of your company and the nature of your product or service
  • Pain statement – 2-3 problems that you solve (from the perspective of your customers). These pain points should be customized depending on who you are talking with, not a script you recite to every one you talk with.
  • Benefit statement – a brief statement of how people like your prospect have benefited from your product or service
  • Hook question – To “hook” the other person into a conversation. Remember you are not selling at this point. You are just exploring whether there is even interest.

Here’s a template you could use:

“I’m with (ABC Company) and we specialize in (a very brief description of what you do). We work with a lot of (big shot decision-makers) at (whoever your target is) companies. Typically companies that hire us tell us they are doing well, but they are concerned about (potential problem #1) or they are disappointed in (potential problem #2) or they are unhappy with (potential problem #3). We’ve been able to help our clients to (describe what’s in it for them). Does any of that seem at all relevant to your business?”

Notice that this is NOT a recitation of the features and benefits of the products and services you offer. Remember, your goal is not to sell, but to get a conversation going and your prospect will be much more interested in a further conversation if they see a connection between what you do and the challenges they face.

Write several versions for the different types of customers you serve. It may take you a couple hours or more just to develop and refine your 30 second commercial but it will be time well invested. Then practice out loud until you are comfortable enough delivering it spontaneously and even able to adapt it to the person you are talking with. You will find that more prospects will be interested in talking further.

Now here’s MY 30-second commercial:unnamedI’m Lewis VanLandingham, with Sharper Edge Advantage, LLC, a Sandler Training licensee. We offer sales, leadership and customer care training as well as assessments for hiring and staff development. Some clients who hire us are great with customers, but are concerned that they aren’t getting enough meetings with new prospects. Others are disappointed with the percentage of proposals they are doing that never turn into closed business or they are unhappy with the amount of free consulting they are doing. If you are looking to improve your sales and profits and would like to learn more, contact me at 614-440-0383 or by email at sharperedge@sandler.com.


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