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Perception IS Reality

By Ryan Sauers

About Ryan

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at

The 17-Second Challenge

Ok, welcome to week 2 of my Perception IS Reality blog. Thanks for all the great feedback last week. This week’s challenge is going to make you squirm a little. It always does. I do this with executives and salespeople all the time. They don’t enjoy it but, in time, tell me how much it makes them reflect and change. I hope it does the same for you.

So, you ask—why the 17-second challenge? What does that mean? Glad you asked. First, I am tired of the term “elevator speech,” and second 17 seconds is about all the time you have to communicate something to another person before they lose interest. 

So here is the assignment. You have 17 seconds to make your point. By the way, you should time yourself when doing this, which you should do right after reading this post. That way, you’ll do it without preparing something and as if you had to do it on the spot—otherwise 17 seconds is too much time. Please act quickly because this message will self-destruct (just kidding...needed to be sure you were still engaged). 

So, without using the words—price, service or quality—you have 17 seconds to tell me why I should buy from your organization versus the countless other choices? What is it about your company that is unique? What is your DSF (Differentiating Sales Factor)? For goodness sake, would you buy from you? So, as of right this moment, think through this question and develop your response. You have 17 seconds. 

Can you do it? Remember: Do not mention the typical price, service and quality “buzz words.” Why? Let me let you in on a little secret—those three words are not simply desired by buyers—they are EXPECTED! If you’re interested, I cover all of this in more detail in my book, available at

But, for now, the clock is ticking (no pun intended). Give me a compelling reason that gels with your company’s DNA of why (without using the three aforementioned words) you should get the business over all the other similar options. Good luck; I am eager to see what you come up with and if you could do it in the time allotted.

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