One of the biggest challenges that our customers face today is differentiating themselves from their competitors in the eyes of their clients and prospects
Do you face this challenge?
Often times we know we’re different, and why, but the customer or client isn’t as connected to these differentiating factors as we’d like them to be. Or, quite frankly, sometimes they just don’t care.
If you can’t give me a compelling reason to meet with you then why should I buy from you?
Years ago the ‘elevator pitch’ was all the rage. The old, you have only an elevator’s ride span of time to get someone’s attention, so you’ve got to ‘pitch’ them to gain interest in order to get to the next step. YUCK! Who wants to be “pitched?” A pitch is very company centric by nature; it can’t be customer centric because you simply don’t have enough time during an elevator ride to explore your client’s needs. A pitch might gain interest, and might even result in a sale, but what about the long term? I call this sales strategy ‘pitch and ditch’… you pitch me, I may buy, but then I may eventually ditch you because there is a lack of a real connection. Most industries and companies are looking for customers for life, not just for tomorrow. If you are in a sales environment where long-term relationships are coveted, and working by referral is de rigueur, then you owe it to yourself to ditch the ‘pitch and ditch’ and focus on sales strategies designed to differentiate you, and build lasting relationships.
In order to do that, the old elevator pitch must evolve to become more of an invitation to dialogue. The new elevator pitch is not to make a sale; it is to inspire your prospective customer to meet with you. The best NEW elevator pitches disrupt your prospects auto-response sequence of “oh, no thank you” and compels them to actually listen to what you have to say.
Write out all of the reasons that make you awesome… include both company traits (reputation and ranking, been in business for X years) and personal traits (you are a proactive communicator; you know your industry and have years of experience). If you have any trouble coming up with a compelling list, call your Top 10 clients and ask them… I bet they’ll give you an earful and may even come up with things that you take for granted, but they certainly don’t.
Next, take what you just wrote and make a column next to it and list how each of those things helps your client/prospect. The “so what” or “why they should care.” (Warning: this is the hard part of the exercise.)
The next step is to take your list, and turn your strengths into 2-3 statements designed to inspire your prospect to meet with you. And voila, the new elevator pitch! Meeting with a prospect will allow you to talk with them, understand their business and how you can build a long term partnership. Here’s an example…
Let’s take a look at opposite sides of a coin for a tangible example and how to make this work for you.
Sales person 1 is: newer to the industry/sales – I have a fresh perspective and bring new ideas
Sales person 2 has: 20 years of experience – I can anticipate problems and mitigate them or alleviate them all together.
Each salesperson then turns their strength factors into new elevator pitches:
1. I find that my experiences outside of the industry have contributed to my ability to approach things in this industry differently; clients that I have met with so far have found that to be extremely valuable.
2. I am dedicated to helping my clients to meet their business goals and with my 20 years of experience I can often foresee issues before they become a problem, saving you time and money.
These are very general examples to get you thinking. Look at your list, what are your differentiating factors and how can you turn them into attention grabbing statements? Take a moment to develop a few of your own, practice them out loud, and then do it again.
My advice to you, keep practicing this. Practice makes progress. Perfection is not the goal. If you can’t tell me quickly and concisely, why I should meet with you, how am I supposed to make a buying decision in your favor, especially if I’m brand attached elsewhere?
Know what makes you different.
Know your value to your customers.
And tell them about it!
Grow Big or Go Home!