Goodbye Elevator Speech: Meet the 17-Second Challenge
This week’s challenge is going to make you squirm. It always does. I do this with printing and related companies around the country. They don’t enjoy it at the moment, but in time, they tell me how much it helped them reflect and change. I hope it does the same for you and makes you think at a deeper level.
So, you ask — what is a 17-second challenge? What does it mean? Glad you asked. First, I am tired of the term "elevator speech" which is generally considered about 20 to 30 seconds. Thus, I have renamed and shortened a new idea. You see, 17 seconds is the most time you have to communicate something to another person before they lose interest. And honestly, 17 seconds is probably generous in a short attention span and noisy world. So, the shorter the better.
So here is the assignment. You have 17 seconds to make a convincing, credible, and concise point. By the way, you should "time yourself" when doing this the first time. This means you do this exercise without preparing/writing something down...and do it...as if you had to speak on the spot. This will make it real.
So, without using the words — "price, service, or quality" — you have 17 seconds (or less) to share why someone should buy from you or your organization over the countless other choices that offer much of the same thing? What is it about you or your company that is unique? What is your DSF (Differentiating Sales Factor)? For goodness sake...Would You Buy from You? (Note to self: this might be a good idea for a book.)
Remember, you cannot mention these 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 and sound the same as everyone else. Now, service is beginning to become a lost art, however, for the sake of this exercise, we will stay away from it as well.
But for now, the clock is ticking (no pun intended). In all seriousness, think through this question, and begin. GO. You have 17 seconds.
Could you think of compelling reason(s) why you should get the business over all the other similar options available to a buyer? Ask yourself this question. So What, Why You, Who cares? I am eager to see what you came up with and if you could do it in the time allotted.
Let me know how you did and I have something (no matter how you did) for you that will help you improve in this exercise. So, connect with me directly and I will send it to you. Have a great week.
Ryan T. Sauers has spent 25 years leading and/or consulting with printing, graphics, promotional and visual communications related organizations. Ryan is President of the independent consulting firm, Sauers Consulting Strategies, founded in 2010.
Key areas of focus of the firm include: sales training, marketing strategy, personal branding, leadership development and organizational change.
Sauers is a frequent national speaker and columnist. He has been recognized as one of the top 80 CMOs in the world and achieved the top designation of Certified Marketing Executive through Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Sauers is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and communication courses to current and aspiring leaders. He is a Certified Myers Briggs, DiSC and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (one of few in US to achieve all 3 rigorous certifications related to human communications, personality & behavior).
Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and hosts a radio show in Atlanta (Marketing Matters). He is author of the best-selling books Everyone is in Sales and Would You Buy from You? More info at: RyanSauers.com