Saturday, May 20, 2006

How to Communicate How Great You Are in 20 Seconds or Less!

When meeting new people and prospective clients first impressions are key. How we introduce ourselves sets the tone for the conversation and, as a business owner, we want people to be interested in what we can do for them.

This is called your elevator speech. It’s that concise, 15 to 20 second blurb about you or your business that will catch someone’s interest in the time you spend riding up in an elevator. Studies show that an average elevator ride lasts15 to 20 seconds. (Trust me, I worked for Otis Elevator for 12 years!). Here are 5 tips for communicating how great you are during a 20 second elevator ride:

  • The take off. Begin with a short statement or question that has a “Wow” effect. For example, a landscaping service owner might say, “Did you know that where vegetation grows suicide and child mortality are less than in places where there are no plants or lawns?”

  • Going Up. In less than 150 words, describe the product or service your business sells and who it sells to. Don’t go into detail.

  • Push the button. Know your competition and what your business does that separates you from them. Mention it briefly without naming your competitor. A pediatrician might say, “One thing that we are able to do is to see sick children on the same day of the call.”

  • Enjoy the ride. Smile, be upbeat, and be memorable. Since I have an unusual name I sometimes introduce myself by saying, “My name is Zan - like Tarzan.” I worked with someone who sold shelving who introduced himself by saying “I secure the world’s shelving needs one shelf at a time.”

  • Stop at several floors. Practice your blurb, out loud, in front of family and friends. Be very comfortable with its delivery. It should flow from your mouth with little effort.

  • Time to walk out. End with a request. Do you want a business card, a referral, an opportunity for a presentation or to schedule a meeting? Ask and then LISTEN! Resist the urge to say anything else. You want your message to be just long enough to leave someone wanting more!

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