Tell An Elevator Speech With A Hook

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Your elevator speech is everything, get it right

How do you respond when someone asks you about your business? Do you have something interesting to say? Does your story have a "hook" that makes people ask more questions? Does your story make prospects want to meet with you? Is your story consistent or do you change it every time someone asks you about your business?

This brief description of your business is called, of course, your elevator speech. It is extremely important that you have a good elevator speech, but very few entrepreneurs have mastered it. That's because they don't know how to define their business, especially in contrast to their competition. Because they do so many different things, it is hard for them to choose something specific to say. Or they haven't figured out what is unique about their business, so their story is generic and boring. As a result, they don't get to first base with their prospects. That's why you need to package an elevator speech that makes prospects want to meet with you.

To create a packaged elevator speech, you need to work through the previous concepts in this series. You need to have these ingredients: a clear target audience, a BIG idea, and a brand name for your BIG Idea. A good elevator speech also needs to be short, interesting, and designed to get people to ask you more questions about your business. As such, it should be interesting, but not confusing. But it shouldn't give away the whole story either. You want people to say: "That's very interesting. Tell me more."

A packaged elevator speech has four sentences (I will use my elevator speech as an example).

Sentence 1 (The Category): The first sentence must explain what generic industry or product/service category you are in. For example, my first sentence is: I have a coaching company for entrepreneurs. In your case, you might say: I am a financial advisor or I have a computer software company. You say this generic sentence so people won't be confused.

Sentence 2 (The Brand Name): The second sentence introduces the brand name of your BIG Idea. For example, my second sentence is: I created The BIG Idea Adventure. You might say: I created The Confident Future Program, or I provide The Country Kitchen Experience.

Sentence 3 (The Explanation): The third sentence explains your BIG Idea and the Peak Benefit. For example, my third sentence is: The program helps you make more money by branding and packaging a BIG Idea. Notice that the third sentence incorporates the two key words in my brand name, Big and Idea. This is important because it explains the brand name. It is also important because it gets people to ask more questions like: So how does the program work? and What do you mean by a BIG Idea?

Sentence 4 (The BIG Problem): Here you introduce the name of the big problem you are trying to help them solve. For example, I say that I help people solve The Penguin Problem. Typically, they ask: What's The Penguin Problem which hooks them in.

One last tip: Your elevator speech should lead to a step beyond the elevator. Perhaps it is a meeting at your office or a coffee at Starbucks. The key point is that your elevator speech should end with a call to action to take the conversation and relationship further.

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Name Your BIG Idea

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Name Your BIG Idea

Giving your BIG Idea a brand name turns your invisible box into something your prospects and customers will be able to see more clearly. It will also focus the mind of your prospects and make your BIG Idea easier to remember.

Once you use a brand name to package your BIG Idea the benefits become instantly apparent. It makes it much easier for you to explain what you, and for your prospects to understand what you are saying. But because your BIG Idea is usually intangible we don't always think about giving it a name. If your BIG Idea was a tangible product like a tennis racquet or a hair dryer, you would naturally give it a name. But because it is intangible and invisible, we forget that we can give such a thing a name. And of course, because your BIG Idea is invisible, it needs a name even more than a tangible product.

We recommend that the name you develop have four words. The first word is THE. And you can start by making the last word something like PROGRAM or SYSTEM. More than four words is too many. You will get sick of telling people you have The Success Confidence Excitement Program. A longer name will not lend itself to a logo or wordmark.

When you first develop a brand name, think of it as a "working name." Don't worry if it is not the perfect name. Usually people go through two or three working names before they get to the ultimate name. The key is to proceed with your working name until you come up with something better. We've had many members make a lot of money selling their BIG Idea with their working name. It was just a bonus that they ultimately came up with the perfect name.

To name your BIG Idea, make a list of possible words. We use these questions: 1. What are some single words that describe the major benefit customers will receive from your BIG Idea? 2. What the key activities that you will do to help your customers solve their problems and achieve their goals? 3. What are words to describe the Special Ingredient (see concept 15)? Mix and match these names until you come up with a name that sounds interesting, such as The Presto Pressing System. Remember that the name does not need to readily explain itself. You want people to ask you questions about the name. If it is too obvious, no one will be curious to ask questions.

After you come up with the name, start using it in your story. Say something like: I have a commercial pressing company. We created The Presto Pressing System. It is a magical step-by-step system that serves all of your commercial pressing needs.

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The Three Boxes

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The Three Boxes

When you give your prospects three choices, most of them will choose the middle option, which is usually called the regular to denote that it is the most popular selection. This helps you up-sell prospects into a more expensive package, while making them feel empowered at the same time. By packaging your BIG Idea into three boxes, you sell more, and sell bigger. As an added bonus, no one ever complains that you charge too much.

The typical salesperson only offers one choice. This leaves a stark yes and no decision and most people will say no because that is the safer decision. But when you offer three choices, people will be able to say no to two options and then say yes to the middle, most popular choice.

By giving people choices, you take the heat off yourself, and put the focus on the prospect. Instead of them thinking you charge too much, or trying to haggle with you, they have to decide what kind of person they are: Are they a basic, regular, or super-size person? They have to decide what kind of self-image they want to have. It is all up to them to decide.

In most cases, I suggest the following. Make your existing fast food offering the basic choice. Make your new, gourmet BIG Idea the middle, regular choice, and then create a super-size third choice that takes your BIG Idea to an even higher, perhaps even ridiculous level. Remember that you are not expecting anyone to buy your super-size. If they do, that’s a bonus. It is really there to lead people to your new BIG Idea in the middle.

I love this strategy because it helps people spend the money required to get what they really need. It helps them stop being penny-wise and pound foolish. Too often we think everyone will only spend the least amount possible. But if that were true, we would all be driving the cheapest cars and wearing the cheapest clothes. We are also afraid to raise our prices because we think we will lose sales. That would be true if we only had one choice and we increased the price too much. But this is a different approach. We give them a cheap option, and two more expensive options. But this doesn’t mean they will always choose the cheapest one. In fact, they will go for the middle option 60% of the time on average.

The Three Boxes Strategy is great for two reasons. One, you make more money. But more importantly, by getting your customers to pay more, you are able to help them more. You can spend more time with them, and bring in more and better resources, all of which will help them get the results they really want. So stop just selling one box. Sell three boxes. Everyone will benefit.

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The Three Boxes

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The Three Boxes

When you give your prospects three choices, most of them will choose the middle option, which is usually called the regular to denote that it is the most popular selection. This helps you up-sell prospects into a more expensive package, while making them feel empowered at the same time. By packaging your BIG Idea into three boxes, you sell more, and sell bigger. As an added bonus, no one ever complains that you charge too much.

The typical salesperson only offers one choice. This leaves a stark yes and no decision and most people will say no because that is the safer decision. But when you offer three choices, people will be able to say no to two options and then say yes to the middle, most popular choice.

By giving people choices, you take the heat off yourself, and put the focus on the prospect. Instead of them thinking you charge too much, or trying to haggle with you, they have to decide what kind of person they are: Are they a basic, regular, or super-size person? They have to decide what kind of self-image they want to have. It is all up to them to decide.

In most cases, I suggest the following. Make your existing fast food offering the basic choice. Make your new, gourmet BIG Idea the middle, regular choice, and then create a super-size third choice that takes your BIG Idea to an even higher, perhaps even ridiculous level. Remember that you are not expecting anyone to buy your super-size. If they do, that’s a bonus. It is really there to lead people to your new BIG Idea in the middle.

I love this strategy because it helps people spend the money required to get what they really need. It helps them stop being penny-wise and pound foolish. Too often we think everyone will only spend the least amount possible. But if that were true, we would all be driving the cheapest cars and wearing the cheapest clothes. We are also afraid to raise our prices because we think we will lose sales. That would be true if we only had one choice and we increased the price too much. But this is a different approach. We give them a cheap option, and two more expensive options. But this doesn’t mean they will always choose the cheapest one. In fact, they will go for the middle option 60% of the time on average.

The Three Boxes Strategy is great for two reasons. One, you make more money. But more importantly, by getting your customers to pay more, you are able to help them more. You can spend more time with them, and bring in more and better resources, all of which will help them get the results they really want. So stop just selling one box. Sell three boxes. Everyone will benefit.

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Create A Line-Up

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Create A Line-Up

In a typical sales situation, the salesperson is trying to get the customer to buy the product or service. However, this is not necessary the best approach because the customer then has all of the power. They can decide if they want to buy the product, and because it is obviously readily available in abundant supply, they can haggle with you, and also wait until later if they want. This power imbalance makes it hard to get a good price for your product/service, and to close prospects.

But what if you created a line-up? What if you told prospects that your product/service was in short supply? What if you told them it was not for everyone? What if you created a waiting list? Under this scenario, you have much greater power. You have at least leveled the playing field. That's because there is one thing people want more than anything else: Something they are afraid they might not be able to get. If people worry they might not be able to get something, their hoarding and competitive instincts take over, and it makes them want what you are selling. This might sound manipulative, and it is, but it is okay as long as you are doing it to actually help them buy something they need.

This is how it can work. One, you need to give them a choice between basic and advanced (See Lobster Lesson #7 Sell Fast Food and Gourmet). The basic fast food choice is available to anyone, and is in great supply, not just from you, but many of your competitors. However, the advanced program is only available from you, and you only take a certain number of "members." Because it is a gourmet product/service, and involves an on-going relationship, you get to decide who gets in, and who doesn't. This is nicely communicated by simply stating that the advanced program is "not for everyone." When they hear that, they will really want it because it sounds exclusive and high quality, but more importantly, because now they are worried that they won't be able to get in. Now you have them engaged.

To increase the impact of this strategy, you can do two things. 1. You can tell people how many members you will take, let's say 25. Then tell them that you already have 5 to 10 members. (These members can be immediately added to the club from your roster of existing clients or customers.) Ask them if they would like to be the 11th member. Give them a discount for being the 11th. The next person, #12, will pay more, and so on. They will join the club because they don't want to miss their chance, and don't want to pay more later.

Secondly, when you reach 25 members, start a waiting list. You can still work with them, but not in the advanced program. This will create huge demand for what you are doing. As well, none of your existing members will want to drop out because they know they won't be able to get back in. Remember, that you won't lose any customers with this strategy because everyone can still buy the basic. Try it and see what happens.

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Provide Free Value

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Attract More Prospects With Free Value

In the face of endless sales and marketing messages (more than 6,000 a day on average), consumers have retreated into a bunker. We call it The Sales Pitch Bunker. They don't want to hear another sales pitch if they can help it. That makes it hard for you to use traditional sales techniques to meet prospects. That's why it is better and easier to provide Free Value to attract more prospects.

It is like you are selling a Box of Chocolate. You could hold up the box of chocolate and sell the features of the chocolates inside. But what is an easier way to sell a box of chocolate? Of course, you can just give them a piece of chocolate. Prospects will be attract by the free value (they want a free piece of chocolate), and then will love it so much, they will want to buy the whole box. Now, it is true that some people will eat the free chocolate with no intention of ever buying anything, but you will attract many more prospects overall, and some of them will become customers. As a result, you will end up with more customers, and make more money.

It is important to realize that giving away free value is usually cheaper than other forms of sales and marketing, such as advertising. Although you have to give something of value away, it is usually something you make or provide anyway. For example, that's why software companies give away free apps and give 30-day trials. They know it will get people using their products, and that will lead to sales. A great example is Skype. They have a 100 million users of there free service, and 10 million who pay for it. But the free 90 million users doesn't really cost them anything. It is what they do to get the 10 million.

In your case, you might offer people time, creativity, or specific solutions to a problem. You might give them a free massage or a free haircut. You might give them a free financial plan, or a trip to the country. All of these ideas will attract prospects. Keep in mind that you can also pre-qualify people and determine who will actually give the free value to. You don't have to give it to everyone. They have to qualify. This gives you power that no salesperson has. You get to decide not the prospect, and that turns the tables.

Another key element of this strategy is that there is a defined deadline for the end of the Free Value. You are willing to give prospects tremendous value for free, but it ends at a definitive time. At that point the free value ends and the prospects has to decide yes or no if they want to become a customer. If they say yes great, if they say no then you move on. There is no maybe. Given that you have done so much for the prospect for free, there is no reason why you should not make this a requirement.

Your job is to figure out what you are willing to give for free value. The more valuable it is, the more prospects you will attract and more new customers you will get. So don't be cheap.

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Get more ideal customers

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One of the primary objectives of BIG Idea marketing is to attract more ideal customers. These are customers you love to work with. They appreciate the special value you provide. They're willing to pay you properly for your premium products and services. And they recommend you to their friends and associates.

Unfortunately, most of us do not have enough ideal customers. They typically represent only 10 to 20% of our customer-base. The remaining customers are non-ideal and are usually only interested in doing a transaction with you at the lowest possible price. That's why one of the goals of BIG Idea marketing is to build up a large contingent of ideal customers and then jettison the non-ideal customers.

To start, it's important to acknowledge that the only way you will consistently attract better, more high-quality clients is to offer them a premium BIG Idea, something new, better and different, that takes everything to a much higher level. You cannot get more ideal customers by trying to sell them commodity products and services. That's what everyone else is trying to do with little success.

Second, you need to create a profile of your ideal customer so you recognize them when you see them. To do this, identify one of your existing ideal customers as your "Model". You want to find more customers like them. Write down their name.

Now calculate how many ideal customers you have right now. For example, maybe you have 5 of them. Then write down how many you would like to have. Let's say 50. Your primary objective is now to get 45 more ideal customers. You also take the step of immediately enrolling your existing 5 ideal customers into your advanced program. They are now honorary members. You do this because the new ideal prospects will be more likely to join your advanced program if there are already existing members.

Now write down the characteristics of your ideal customer. What is it about him or her that makes them ideal? You might write: Successful, open to new ideas, fun, appreciates the value provided by experts, willing to take the time to plan, trusting, cares about their family, and so on. These are the characteristics people need to have in order to qualify for your advanced program. In fact, you will use these characteristics as part of Big Idea Story: "We realize, however, that the advanced program is not for everyone. It's for people who are successful, open to new ideas, fun, appreciate the value provided by experts, willing to take the time to plan, trusting, and care about their family. So if you are someone like that, you might qualify for the advanced program. Otherwise, we can provide you with the basic service."

With this profile in mind, be more discerning when meeting with each prospect. Ask: Is this person ideal or not? If they are, offer them your BIG Idea. If not, offer them your basic product or service, or nothing at all.

We have learned that companies that focus on getting ideal customers end up with many more ideal customers.

 

Summary

• Ideal customers are the kinds of people you love to work with. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs don't have enough ideal customers (less than 20%).

• One primary objective of BIG Idea marketing is to attract more ideal customers (You will attract more ideal customers if you have a BIG Idea)

• Use one of your existing ideal customers as the model for the new customers you want. Develop a profile of your ideal customer characteristics. Your long-term goal is only to work with ideal customers

 

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Sell both fast food and gourmet

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There are two ways to grow your business: Get more fast food customers, or start building a gourmet business for higher-quality customers. While both options are viable, we have found that entrepreneurs who run gourmet companies make more money and work less. They also feel more fulfilled.

All of the prospects who match your #1 customer type profile can be divided into three categories. The first group you do not want to work with. Although they match your #1 customer type profile, they are undesirable for whatever reason. The second group are the Fast Food prospects and customers. You want to work with them, but they only want to do a transaction with you. They want the lowest price possible, and they want the transaction to be done swiftly and efficiently. You are also interested in completing the transaction as expeditiously as possible. The third group are Gourmet. They want a long-term relationship with you. They value your knowledge, expertise and experience. Price is not an issue. They are willing to pay properly for the high value they are receiving. You love working with them, and feel appreciated and valued. The key point is that there is no middle ground between Fast Food and Gourmet. They are either one or the other. They either want cheap and fast, or they want expensive and slow. If you try to straddle the line between these two extremes, you will make neither group happy, and you might go bankrupt.

In the long-term you need to decide what kind of business you want: fast food or gourmet. You will ultimately have to be one or the other. However, in the interim, you can offer both. For each prospect, tell them they can choose either basic (fast food) or gourmet (advanced). It is up to them to choose.

Normally, your existing products and services constitute the basic offering. The gourmet offering is your advanced Big Idea. For the time-being, you will sell both levels of service. Eventually, when you have enough gourmet customers, you will either discontinue offering the fast food, or delegate it to an associate. In this way, you will make the transition, with no risk, to the gourmet company.

It is also important to remind yourself that a gourmet company is not in any way fast food. You don't have a gourmet restaurant with silver cutlery but paper napkins. Everything about your company must be gourmet. You need to make the investment of time, money and effort to ensure that everything is gourmet.

To get started using this concept, divide your list of existing customers into fast food and gourmet. This is usually a 90/10 split. Then going forward, slot each prospect/customer into either fast food or gourmet. Then make sure you give each group the right level of service.

Summary

• Divide your customers in two distinct kinds: fast food and gourmet.

• The fast food customers just want to do a transaction with you (usually for the lowest price). The gourmet customers want to have a long-term relationship with you (price is not an issue).

• Most entrepreneurs have too many fast food customers, and neglect the gourmet customers. To get more gourmet customers, you need to develop a gourmet BIG Idea for them.

 

 

 


Focus on your #1 Customer Type

06 # 1 Customer Poster

 

Most companies are held back from greater success because they have too many different kinds of customers or clients. When they started their company, they did business with anybody who would buy their products or services. Over time they accumulated many different kinds of customers. While this may be seen as a good thing, it is also a problem because it is complicated to work with so many different kinds of customers. For each type of customer you need different marketing tools and activities, different products and services, and different processes. This fragmentation makes it hard to unify your business under a single brand, message, process and product line, and that inhibits growth.

To simplify your business, and make more money with less work, focus on one type of customer. For example, we only work with small and medium size companies. We don't work with large corporations or government agencies. This single focus has made us experts in the needs of these customers, has simplified our business, and has made our company much more profitable.

Using this model, you have one type of customer and an unlimited potential number of products and services geared to that single customer type. This is in stark contrast to a typical product-first company that has only one type of product and many different types of customers.

Many companies resist this strategy because they don't want to give up any potential customers. But that is not a problem. To implement this idea, you don't have to give up any customers. If a non-ideal prospect walks in the door, you can still work with them if you want. But you don't seek out any new customers that don't match your #1 customer profile.

As you get more and more customers that match your #1 customer type profile, you realize that you don't really want to have any other kinds of customers. You feel more focused, and your business is easier to run. It is then easier to let go of those other kinds of customers.

One key note: It is very important that you choose the right type of customer to focus on. Make your selection after considerable thought. It is the most important decision you will make in your business.

 

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Use The Relationship-First Formula to expand your mind and create more value

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To stand out from your competition, attract the attention of more great prospects, and make more money, you need to come up with a BIG Idea, something new, better and different. But as we have seen, a product-first mindset can stop you from coming up with BIG Ideas because you can't think outside your product/service category. However, another mindset, called The Relationship-First Formula, enables you to come up with lots of BIG Ideas.

When you use the relationship-first model, you don't start your thinking with your product or service. You start your thinking with the intention of helping. You do not approach your prospects and customers with any particular product or service in mind. You approach them instead with the intention of helping them solve their problems and achieve their goals, in whatever way is necessary. In this way, your intention to help is more important than your desire to sell them something in particular. Your primary objective is simply to help them in what ever way you can.

This relationship-first mindset helps you develop BIG Ideas because you are no longer attached to any particular product, service, strategy, or technique. You are always open to new ways to help, even if you currently do not have the capabilities to provide that help. By having this open mind, you no longer limit yourself to what you currently provide, or what your industry provides. Anything is possible.

That is how Apple achieved success. Using a relationship-first model, they broke away from computer-only thinking. They no longer saw themselves as a "computer" company. They were a relationship-first "helping" company. As a result, they gave themselves permission to provide products and services that are not computers. That's how they came up with ideas for iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, while other computer companies never saw the opportunity. It is likely that Apple will continue to innovate and develop even more non-computer products and services. However, the irony is, by breaking away from computer-first thinking, and developing other products and services, they also sold more computers.

That's why we recommend you adopt this relationship-first model. It will open up your mind to an endless stream of possible BIG Ideas. These ideas will help you attract the attention of potential prospects. Secondly, these ideas will help you stand out from your competition. And thirdly, these ideas will help you make more money, and ironically, sell more of your original products.

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