Mastering the Elevator Speech

Mastering the elevator speech: why is it important? Well for one thing, it really forces you to FOCUS on not just what it is that you do but it speaks to that thing that we some times refer to as your core competency. My own business coach really encouraged me on this one! Create a 15 second speech that clearly and powerfully communicates what you do.

The object is that your speech is so specific and attractive that by the time you get to the top of the building you have sold your product or service!


One of the more dangerous trends we have seen in our society and clearly it has trickled down to most businesses, is that thing that I call "homogenization." Drive anywhere in America and it becomes more and more difficult to tell the difference from one town to another. This is becoming increasing true, regardless of whether you go North, South, East or West. We see a McDonald's, a Burger King, a Wendy's, the obligatory Comfort Inn, the ubiquitous Holiday Inn, a Chili"s or an Applebee's, and the ever-present Subway: you get the picture. Traveling used to be interesting and exciting before the landscape got homogenized. You would see differences immediately. Now it is just all the same.

We see the same thing happening in business and the question, "Why should I do business with you is," becoming more difficult to answer because businesses look and all sound the same the days. All too often we see that business's and business owners have forgotten that people do business with other people because they not only want the best product and service but they want something different. And paradoxically enough, many times the road to success is carved out by not worrying about being the best at all. It is only a matter of embracing something that is different.

I am not saying the hamburgers at McDonald's are better than Burger King. But Burger King is saying that their burger is "flame broiled." Guess what, Burger King has carved out a nice little piece of the market just by focusing on this one simple difference.

So if you are an accountant, start thinking of ways to point out why your accounting services are different. If you are a roofer, consider finding a way to describe what sets you a part from the other guys who climb up and down those same ladders. If you own a dress shop, ask yourself why should I go in to your store as opposed to Macy's? Then comes the hard part, write your 15 second, your 30 second, and your 60 second "Elevator Spot" and tell people, "why you" as oppose to someone else. It's a tough exercise. If you master it, you will be light years closer to focusing in on what it is that makes people want to do business with you in today's tough and competitive market.

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