Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The "Elevator Pitch" done right

I believe Mike Manion's presentation on "Making the Perfect* 30-Second Pitch" to the Construction Writers Association justified my flight to Washington, D.C. His succinct and practical approach to creating business introductions and networking, I believe, offers us one of the most powerful tools and resources available in the marketing process.

Your perception of the "elevator speech" is probably the same as mine -- at least before Mike's presentation. I assumed the 'right' speech is a brief recitation of our company's products and services, designed to elicit an awareness of "what we do"

Of course, this just doesn't work. We care about ourselves, but really, do we care to hear anyone else's "elevator speech". Mike said he certainly found the traditional approach didn't work for him when he started marketing Vistage to chief executive officers in the mid-Atlantic region. (Vistage is the successor to The Executive Committee, described as the largest CEO networking group in the world.)

Mike's market of course is the elusive but vital one of the 'boss' -- the owner, the ultimate decision-maker. If you can sell or market to this level, you will be successful. But no one really wants to know how good Vistage is -- they want to know solutions to their problems.

Instead, the correct approach is to frame the issue within the interests of the person you are reaching.

The writers in the room role played, and this is what I came up on reflection after the meeting as an example for my own 'elevator pitch'.

"Are you fed up with clients who don't pay their bills, who nickel and dime you in the competitive bid process -- and who resist the most reasonable change order requests. Would you like instead to see work from people like your best customers -- the ones you enjoy and really like working with."

"I can tell you it is easy to do the stuff that gets you the wrong kind of business -- but we take a different approach, preserving and encouraging your best relationships -- and helping you to find more of the kind of people you really want to do business with. You can of course ignore these concepts -- just think, however, how much you will gain by replacing just one bad client with one equivalent to your best customer."

(We sell promotional marketing features in our regional construction industry publications, supported by supplier advertising. It is a good product, and it works well for everyone concerned, but I think you can appreciate that the conventional approach of extolling the publications' virtues, and the value of advertising and media publicity, will not go far with a critical and 'oversold' audience.)

Mike lists four Rules of Engagement

Concise -- One thought briefly stated. Get to the point.
Clear -- No marketing slogans or jargon -- use real language.
Carnivorous -- Meaty, valuable, no fluff.
Candor -- Be honest and meaningful. No superficialities.

Oh, what about the *

"*No pressure," he writes. "Remember -- there is no such thing as perfect when it comes to communicating!

No comments: