What is an elevator pitch?

Within business as in life, we are continually communicating with others, some we have one-off short interactions with, whereas others become lifelong friends!  In this blog, we’ll look at whether your first interaction with anyone is likely to create the former or the later!

If your 60-Second pitch doesn’t clearly answer a prospect’s “What’s in it for me?” question, there will be nothing in it for you!

The objective of a 60-second elevator pitch is to capture a prospect’s attention for the purpose of engaging him or her in a relevant and meaningful conversation, relevant to their needs, wants, challenges, problems, goals, and objectives. And meaningful in relation to the outcomes the prospect desires.

Therefore, your pitch must focus first and foremost on the prospect’s circumstances, and then on the process by which your product or service brings about desired outcomes.

Except to the extent that they help describe the outcome-achievement process, specific features, functions, benefits, and advantages of your product or service should not be part of the pitch.

The bottom line: your pitch should focus on them—your prospects—not on you or your products and services.

If prospects understood the true nature of their problems, they wouldn’t need you.

If prospects fully understood the underlying reasons for and contributing factors to the situations for which they seek a solution (a product or service), they wouldn’t need you to help them find the most appropriate one. A catalog of products or list of services would suffice.

But, when prospects find themselves in challenging situations, they tend to focus on what is in front of them, not the chain of events that led up to the situations. And, they tend to describe their situations in relation to what they believe the solutions to be—solutions that will address the immediate problem. For example: “We need to step up production;” “We need new software;” and “We need to expand our market reach.”

While the descriptions of the desired outcomes may be appropriate, they tell you little or nothing about the circumstances—the sequence and mix of events—that created the needs. Until you have uncovered those elements, you can’t prescribe a solution that will ensure that the circumstances and associated problems won’t reoccur. And more importantly, you have brought no more value to the interaction than any other salesperson who has a product or service to offer that meets the prospect’s “We need…” description.

It’s bringing to light and enabling prospects to understand the underlying reasons for the situations they need to address that sets you apart from other salespeople. Helping your prospects discover something they didn’t know before meeting you is often the slight edge advantage you need to obtain the business.

When analyzing a prospect’s situation, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re not likely to find it.

Since prospects typically don’t fully understand the root cause of their problems, it’s up to you to bring that knowledge to the encounter. If you’re not thoroughly knowledgeable about the developmental structure of the problems your product or service is designed to address, you are no better off than your prospects. Without that knowledge, you will neither be able to recommend with certainty the most appropriate solutions nor will you be able to logically and persuasively justify your recommendations.

It’s important to learn about the features and functions of your product or service, but it’s more important to understand the reasons for those elements—how they address the structural aspects of the problems. Then, you’re in a position to help your prospects better understand their situations “from the ground up” and recognize your recommendations as best-fit solutions.

Prospects who say, “If I like what I see, I’ll buy it,” never see anything they like.

Prospects who don’t have (and can’t articulate, except in broad general terms) a specific outcome they desire are usually not good prospects. More often than not, one of two things occurs. They never see anything they “like,” and of course, never buy anything. Or, they make a purchase, but they’re never satisfied. They become the client you never wanted.

Part of your responsibility when developing an opportunity is to help prospects identify and shape the specific outcomes they seek. If you find that to be an impossible task, it’s time to find another prospect.

When a prospect says, “Money’s no problem,” it will always end up being one.

A critical element in qualifying a selling opportunity is discovering the prospect’s investment expectations or limitations. Prospects will sometimes attempt to avoid discussing the topic by saying, “Money’s no problem.”

While “money” may not be a problem (i.e., the prospect has a sufficient budget to cover the required investment for whatever you may recommend), the prospect’s reluctance to reveal that amount is a problem. When a prospect is reluctant (or refuses) to provide relevant information that would enable you to develop a best-fit solution, it’s an indication of a lack of trust, or perhaps an ulterior motive, on the part of the prospect. And that’s an issue that should be addressed before you go any farther.

There’s another more direct explanation for a prospect’s “money’s no problem” answer. It’s “no problem” because the prospect has already made up his mind that you’re not getting any of it.

If you allow a prospect to “think it over” after a pitch, you’ll be the only one doing any thinking.

In most cases, a pitch should represent the culmination of the development process—followed by a decision from the prospect to either buy or not buy your product or service. In a complex selling situation, a decision from an intermediate decision maker, for example, may be to recommend… or not recommend your product or service to the final buying committee. In either case, you need to obtain a decision.

In order to obtain that decision, you’ll need to do two things. First, do a superlative job of qualifying the opportunities so you’ll know exactly what must be included in your presentations in order for the prospects to say “yes,” and perhaps more importantly, what would cause them to say “no.” Second, you must know your prospects’ decision timeframes so you are presenting at a time when they are in a position to make a decision. If, for example, a prospect is looking at three companies, you want to be the last person to make a presentation, not the first.

What do you do if you can’t be the last? Ask your prospect to accept your pitch as if you were the only one seeking their business, and give you a “yes” or “no” decision at its conclusion, with the understanding that a “yes” doesn’t guarantee that you’ll ultimately get the business. Walking away with a decision, even if it’s “no,” at least lets you know how you did. It’s certainly better than leaving with no feedback—which is exactly what a “think it over” is—and wondering how your pitch was received.

Twice a year I run a ‘PITCH PERFECT’ Masterclass (a video showreel of a previous one can be seen here) Should you be interested in further details, simply click here and let me know what you’re seeking to achieve.

8 Essentials to SCALE, Podcast

I’m a huge advocate for sharing the real essentials with other business owners to help and empower them achieve their Big Fat Hairy Audacious Goals!

One of the ways I do this is agree to be interviewed by podcasters, YouTubers, and others with a client base of business owners.  Here, I was interviewed by one of our existing Explorer Mastermind clients – Amanda Daniels from Koogar Integrated Marketing.

How to achieve a WIN-WIN

Job descriptions often list negotiation skills as a desirable asset for job candidates, but the ability to negotiate requires a collection of interpersonal and communication skills used together to bring a desired result. The circumstances of negotiation occur when two parties or groups of individuals disagree on the solution for a problem or the goal for a project or contract. A successful negotiation requires the two parties to come together and hammer out an agreement that is acceptable to both.

Problem Analysis

Effective negotiators must have the skills to analyze a problem to determine the interests of each party in the negotiation. A detailed problem analysis identifies the issue, the interested parties and the outcome goals. For example, in an employer and employee contract negotiation, the problem or area where the parties disagree may be in salary or benefits. Identifying the issues for both sides can help to find a compromise for all parties.

Preparation

Before entering a bargaining meeting, the skilled negotiator prepares for the meeting. Preparation includes determining goals, areas for trade and alternatives to the stated goals. In addition, negotiators study the history of the relationship between the two parties and past negotiations to find areas of agreement and common goals. Past precedents and outcomes can set the tone for current negotiations.

Active Listening

Negotiators have the skills to listen actively to the other party during the debate. Active listening involves the ability to read body language as well as verbal communication. It is important to listen to the other party to find areas for compromise during the meeting. Instead of spending the bulk of the time in negotiation expounding the virtues of his viewpoint, the skilled negotiator will spend more time listening to the other party.

Emotional Control

It is vital that a negotiator have the ability to keep his emotions in check during the negotiation. While a negotiation on contentious issues can be frustrating, allowing emotions to take control during the meeting can lead to unfavorable results. For example, a manager frustrated with the lack of progress during a salary negotiation may concede more than is acceptable to the organization in an attempt to end the frustration. On the other hand, employees negotiating a pay raise may become too emotionally involved to accept a compromise with management and take an all or nothing approach, which breaks down the communication between the two parties.

Verbal Communication

Negotiators must have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to the other side during the negotiation. Misunderstandings can occur if the negotiator does not state his case clearly. During a bargaining meeting, an effective negotiator must have the skills to state his desired outcome as well as his reasoning.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Negotiation is not necessarily a one side against another arrangement. Effective negotiators must have the skills to work together as a team and foster a collaborative atmosphere during negotiations. Those involved in a negotiation on both sides of the issue must work together to reach an agreeable solution.

Problem Solving

Individuals with negotiation skills have the ability to seek a variety of solutions to problems. Instead of focusing on his ultimate goal for the negotiation, the individual with skills can focus on solving the problem, which may be a breakdown in communication, to benefit both sides of the issue.

Decision Making Ability

Leaders with negotiation skills have the ability to act decisively during a negotiation. It may be necessary during a bargaining arrangement to agree to a compromise quickly to end a stalemate.

Interpersonal Skills

Effective negotiators have the interpersonal skills to maintain a good working relationship with those involved in the negotiation. Negotiators with patience and the ability to persuade others without using manipulation can maintain a positive atmosphere during a difficult negotiation.

Ethics and Reliability

Ethical standards and reliability in an effective negotiator promote a trusting environment for negotiations. Both sides in a negotiation must trust that the other party will follow through on promises and agreements. A negotiator must have the skills to execute on his promises after bargaining ends.

And finally, yet MOST importantly, I must STRESS:

There is NO such thing as a Win/Win!

The very idea is proposterous.  What your actually saying is They Win BECAUSE I Win too! and that simply isn’t a win win, in fact I’d go as far as to suggest if you have a WIN /WIN attitude, when your trying to negotiate, your far more likely to actually orchestrate your own LOOSE / LOOSE.

You see, if you GENUINELY have the needs of the customer first. If you HONESTLY care about them and want them to “Have a nice day” then you’ll do whats right for them, and not just because it works in your favour also!  I’ve witnessed first hand how a company actively invited their competition to join them whenever approached by a new prospective client.  They would actively seek two other providers and invite them to join them when the prospective client arrived!

The idea being: We KNOW the prospect is looking for a solution to their current problem.  We MAY not be the exact right fit for them, or them for us.  However, if this is the case, both they and we have ‘wasted’ time.  Therefore, would it not be better to invite two other prospective solution providers to the meeting, that collectively we can ensure the prospect DOES get the RIGHT solution, therefore no time actually wasted.  We GENUINELY want the prospect to be happy and have found the right solution, if this is us then great, if not then at least we know they got the right solution, and that in turn is the right solution for us also.  This is known as a genuine WIN WIN, or as I’ve come to refer to as a WIN WIN WIN!

NOBODY wants to buy your product/service

There is something salespeople do that makes selling more difficult. They don’t mean to do it, and many still don’t know what they should do differently and why what they’re doing makes selling more difficult. What they are doing is leading with their products.

It is easy to get hyped up about your product, especially if you work in a company that develops great products. A lot of the internal conversations are about how the product is better than what came before it and how it is better than any of your competitors. A lot of the company goals cascade down to the sales force and salespeople are measured against these targets. It’s easy to talk about the cool stuff you are creating and even more so when you are measured and rewarded for doing so.

But here is the rub. People don’t want to buy your product or service. Theodore Levitt from Harvard Business School said, “People don’t want to buy drills. They want to buy quarter-inch holes.” To view what you are doing in sales you have to reverse the order and start with the holes.

When you lead with the product, you are starting the sales conversation at Level 1, which is product and features and benefits and advantages. This works against you because I haven’t yet agreed that I need the holes that your drill produces. Worst still, I may already be getting the holes I need from the drill I have now. When you lead from what I call Level 4, which is strategic, you lead with the idea that the client needs better holes, they need to improve the speed at which they produce those holes, they need holes that better serve their clients, holes that allow them to increase their profits, holes that help to capture greater market share or holes that position them to move their organization to a place where they can leap to some new type of hole altogether.

Outcomes drive solutions. Outcomes drive the choice of product. But most important is that fact that outcomes drive the need to change, a result that is more difficult for product alone.

Like a lot of things, you need to reverse what you are doing to produce greater results. To go faster, slow down. To make producing results easier, do what is most difficult. And to sell more product, sell the outcomes instead.

 

Are you ready to SCALE?

New Versus Old, the 8 Fundamentals to sustainable scale!

Whilst the traditional model of forming and growing a business still exists, it has to be recognised that the birth of the internet, social media and electronic payment options has enabled a new form of business to emerge.

One that is faster, slicker, more profitable, less time consuming and requires far less resource to enable an extortionate amount of money to be made!

However, in BOTH models there are still far too many either going broke or GROWING broke!  and that’s simply because there are 8 fundamental lessons that have to be learned and considered in order to create a SUSTAINABLE business that can scale!

Here at My TrueNORTH we help business owners from both the old and new to ADD A ZERO to both their turnover and personal disposable income!

Vision, Values, Purpose, Mission

You need to have clarification on exactly what you want the business to achieve, what is SUCCESS?  You also need to have a clear clarity of the values you and your business wish to be known for.  It’s far more important these days than ever before to have a clear purpose, and then to write a mission statement which supports all of these, to which you run your business.

Mindset & Motivation

This is often the biggest hurdle to scaling any business!  The lack of clarity in the mindset of the owner, and sufficient motivation to implement and adhere to the plan in order to do what is required to achieve the goals you have set yourself.

Strategy & Structure

A business strategy should only be considered once the mission is clear, therefore it can be determined HOW you’re going to achieve it.  The structure of the business will support the strategy to achieve the mission.

Marketing

Clarity on WHO is your TARGET market is often overlooked in favour of selling to anyone, yet this is completely the wrong strategy if you wish to SCALE.

Money and Margins

It’s just as easy to GROW broke as it is to GO broke. Too many people fail to understand running ANY business is often based on one dashboard which carefully and in real time monitors the NUMBERS in the business. Get it right and you can fly, get it wrong and your heading for unemployment.

Sales and Negotiation

Being able to convert enquiries and how to negotiate the best deal for both you and the client is key to ensuring no money is left on the table.

Delivery and Customer Service

So many people concentrate on continually winning new clients, as opposed to spending more time and effort looking after their current clients, which is actually key to SCALE!

Team

Getting the right team in place early is another key to scale.  Yet to many business owners still get caught out with the ‘they can’t do it as well as me’ misconception!

Whilst there are a gzillion books out there regarding BUSINESS SUCCESS, we opted to adopt a slightly different viewpoint, and have studied businesses that FAIL!  You see, there is SO much more you can learn from a business that has previously been doing well and making good progress, that subsequently failed, than there is from one which continues to make great progress.  I love the quote:

EVERYONE should make MANY mistakes. However only a fool makes the same one twice!

As it clearly shows we have MUCH to learn from the mistakes people make, in order NOT to make the sames ones again!  We’ve therefore studies well over 100 businesses that had made a name for themselves, only for SOMETHING to happen, resulting in failure.  From this we have learnt the fundamental mistakes made by SO MANY businesses, and devised a method to help you avoid them!

Want some help to understand more about how you and your business stack up against this 8 segment scale process?  Email Iw*****@AD******.uk to ask about our FREE SCALE AUDIT