Monday, August 26, 2013

Is Your Elevator Pitch Any Good?

Do you have the Perfect Elevator Pitch?

Can you tell what you do in a concise compelling way? Most people can't. If you can say what you do in 25 words try again. So here is how to make your Elevator Pitch efficient and effective.

The classic elevator pitch. It's a major challenge that every sales person, marketer, and entrepreneur must do. The concept is really quite simple: all you need to do is communicate what you do in the time it takes to ride an elevator from ground level until the door opens and you have to leave. Now we are not talking Willis Tower here. We are talking about your normal building that gives you 55 seconds or less. You only have about 55 seconds to get in and get out and leave a powerful message with enough of a hook to get someone to continue the conversation after exiting, ask for your business card or have a catch praise they will not forget. At Larson & Associates I have 2, “We make good businesses great and great businesses even better!” AND “We bother people at lunch not at dinner.”

Everyone needs a simple and concise way to explain what they do. It is one of the keys to successfully prospecting, networking, events, chance meetings and parties for getting new business. Unfortunately most people explain themselves comes off self indulgent and boring resulting in wasted conversations and fruitless encounters or what they say is so dumb and cute no one is really going to take it serious.

Here is the typical wrong way:

Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am the CEO of ABC Widgets. We help companies grow and we give great customer service. Do you have any widget needs?

The people on the receiving end may or may not think they need blue #2 widgets. Most of the time they are only thinking about what they are going to say to you.  In this pitch there is nothing to compelling in this pitch to further a conversation. The only hope you have to continue the conversation is the hope they have for you want to buy what they are offering.

A powerful elevator pitch, needs to communicate a compelling value proposition that attracts customers to buy that in a nut shell fills a need gives them a fast reason they will love to buy or a fear if they don’t buy they will have great pain in their lives.  If your working a room this will help you efficiently weed through a large group of people, stopping only for meaningful conversations with real potential customers. Here is a step-by-step process on how it's done:

Step 1--Connect with Empathy: Create a specific pain statement or a major pleasure statement for the prospect you want to have a conversation with. Remember you only want to talk to people who are willing to pay for the problems you solve not everyone in the room. Don’t waste your time:

Say you want to work with companies with revenue over $5,000,000 who need a just-in-time manufacturer of blue widgets #2, and they are only a $1,000,000 dollar company; let the thing alone the right?

If the person does not meet your target move on. I once knew a guy that would only sell typesetting to ad agencies on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. If your ad agency was on Wabash or Wacker Drive, forget it he would not call on you. He would not call on you if you were an agency that his best friend worked at. You did not meet his target. If the person you’re talking too doesn’t fit or know someone who does, they can answer no and you can move on, and the good news is you have only spent less than 20 seconds.  But if their company is suffering from the issue you targeted or what you offer is such a good feel they can’t help themselves and they fit your target, you'll be actually see their faces drop as they identify with the pain of get a big smile when they have the need too’s or the pleasure your service will bring them.  Now you immediately look smart and empathetic as they affirm that the picture you painted is terrible and frustrating or will bring them the ultimate joy of their lives. You have gained their attention.

Step 2--Offer an Objective Solution: Now you got your prospect not only listening but they just got vulnerable. They are thinking you might be pretty smart and insightful. Don't prove them wrong by trying to close. Continue showing them how smart you are by offering up an objective solution to their issues. You might try something like “Wouldn't it be great if ...”?

For example: Wouldn't it be great if there were a company that could design and produce blue widgets #2 and deliver “just-in-time” that makes brings down your warehouse costs and storage needs and lets you be more efficient and lets your salespeople close more deals?

If people don't respond positively to this statement then they weren't really connecting in Step 1 and you can move on having only wasted 45 seconds total now. Those who you have connected with should be now hanging on every word and nodding their heads, thankful that someone finally gets their frustration or understands what brings them great joy.

Step 3--Provide Differentiation: You are 90% there. The best way to close is by not closing but by by explaining why only you are the best choice to provide the very solution they need. You have to be ready with a couple of points that will truly differentiate you from your competition. Note that "Experience" or "Great Customer Service" doesn’t cut it. Everyone has great experience and fantastic customer service. Using the kinds of things everyone else says won't make you stand out since all of your competitors claim the exact same even if it's not true. To have a true differentiator you need something your competitor can't do or won't do without great effort or expense.

Here's the finish: My company uses proven project management and internal design with the tightest turn times in the industry with online or phone ordering systems designed to match your internal requirements to deliver blue #2 widget to your specifications on your dock when you need them every time!   If you would like Ill email you a link to our company web site.

If they say no, you only wasted 1 minute 17 seconds. If they say yes, you have succeeded in starting not just a conversation but a targeted prospect that has a high degree of success to be doing business with.

Now just in case you missed it, the last line is incredibly important because it gives you permission to get and use their email and continue the relationship. Even if you aren't a writer, have content like white papers, videos or blog posts ready to email and support your pitch as promised. As Hank Trisler says: “People buy on emotion and justify with facts.”

Larson Notes & Satire:  Easy and hard to get what you need to say into tight compact words. Work on it, test it, and practice it. And as you practice it, you will get better till it becomes natural.

And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment.

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

15 Astounding Marketing Facts

Marketing facts and figures help marketers understand where we stand against the averages and norms. They also help us understand consumer trends, business trends and where the industry has been and where it is going.

Here are 15 of the most astounding social media, email and other marketing facts and figures that I have come across.

1. Companies spending more than 25% of their marketing budgets toward optimization are twice as likely to enjoy high conversion rates, according to a recent study conducted by Adobe. Does that mean optimizing your current marketing mix is a better investment than putting dollars toward new channels? Many marketers are not optimizing their current marketing channels to the fullest extent. Marketing optimization comes down to applying best practices and testing various techniques to improve response.

2. According to the 2013 Marketing Trends study conducted by J&C, 75% of marketers are planning to use social media this year. Social media was second only to email as the most used tactic in marketing. Social media users are now being inundated with messages.

3. According to HubSpot, in 2013 marketers spent almost a quarter of their overall budgets on blogging and social media.

4. According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, companies that blog 20 times per month get five times more traffic than those that blog less than four times per month.

5. HubSpot also reported that 80% of marketers with a company blog reported positive inbound ROI for 2013. These organizations are likely implementing a number of inbound marketing tactics with a blog being one.

6. This year, 43% of marketers found a new customer via their company blog, according to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report. Blogging takes a strong commitment to content development. Learn more about how to evolve your content development strategy.

7. In 2013, 90% of marketers say they will increase or maintain their use of email. Furthermore, according to Lyris, more than 145 billion emails are sent annually, equating to every user receiving approximately 9,000 emails a year. Breaking through a cluttered inbox isn’t easy. Be sure you are doing everything possible to test and optimize subject lines.

8. According to MarketingSherpa, 69% of consumers are willing to give up personal data in exchange for more customized service. Personalization is becoming an expectation and a norm by consumers and business decision makers.

9. According to Google Think Insights, 74% of mobile users rely on their mobile devices to check email. This number is likely to continue to grow, demonstrating the growing need for mobile optimized emails.

10. Mobile open rate on emails is up 138% in the last 18 months, according to Google Think Insights.

11. Almost half of mobile users feel frustrated and annoyed when they visit a site that’s not mobile-friendly, according to Google Think Insights. Ensure that your emails and landing pages are leveraging responsive design.

12. According to FierceCMO, the volume of triggered email increased 73% in 4Q12 from the year- earlier period.

13. Open rates for triggered emails hit 49.8% in 2012, almost 95% higher than general emails, according to HubSpot’s blog, December 14, 2012. To learn more about how to optimize your triggered emails, check out J&C’s Triggered and Behavioral Email ebook.

14. The direct mail business is growing by 1.4% annually, according to the DMA. Direct mail is a viable marketing tactic, and direct mail effectiveness, measured as response rate, continues to remain steady.

15. Two out of three people who receive direct mail make a purchase or also engage in a different marketing channel, demonstrating the power of integrated communications. Ensure all your marketing channels are working together to create a cohesive prospect and customer experience.

These marketing facts and figures help paint a clear picture of the state of marketing in 2013. Hopefully this information can help you shape marketing strategies and convince others of the approaches that should be pursued.

Larson Notes & Satire:  Fact is that Social and Social Media Marketing are getting more and better looks but Google and the other search engines than your web site. Add that to all the above and what are you waiting for?

And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment.

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.