What’s Your ‘118?’
I often get dismissed for believing in things like the power of print as a business tool.
Hey, I exploit the power of social media too, and to those print haters I say: Know what any tool can do for you. Print is dead? We still love to see, feel and touch things. Think about this the next time you sign a contract. Think about it when a child’s eyes light up from a postcard. Think about it when you get a thoughtful Thank You card for your gift. Text me a thank you for my Christmas present, and I’m sure your gift will be smaller next year.
But nothing compares to the feeling I get when I speak at meetings and conferences and trade shows about getting back to best practices and core values. That’s when I get a lot of nodding heads saying, “I know I should do that.”
And I know they won’t do it — the allure of the flashy promise or quick fix is too strong. Or maybe they’ll listen to me and think, “Yeah! Someone should do something and fix this at my company.” and not realize they are that someone. Truth is, you must look in the mirror and ask, “What don't I know and how can I know it?”
For me, in marketing, that means going back to your roots and the core of who we are as a company. And that’s why one of the most important parts of the first mirror test in my book ("The Mirror Test") is to master what I call your “118.”
The “118” is my version of what some people still call “the elevator pitch.” Problem is, that time used to mean up to three to five minutes. Now, an average elevator ride is about two minutes. And the chance to hook me? You have seconds before I tune you out and maybe two minutes after that to completely sell me with your initial pitch.
That’s where I came up with 118. It’s the 118 seconds you actually have to pitch: 8 compelling seconds to hook me and up to 110 seconds to drive it home — less than two minutes with only seconds to spare.
The first 8 seconds is the length of time the average human can concentrate on something and not lose some focus. It is also the length of time of one of the toughest rides in the world—a qualified ride in professional bull riding. You must hold on as one of the meanest, toughest animals in the world tries to throw you off...just like any good prospect will.
Need help? My friends Andy and Julie Plata from OutputLinks, Inc., gave me some printing pitch examples: The Best: "We make print clickable." The Worst: "We do anything and everything a company needs us to do as cheaply as possible.”
And if you master those 8 seconds, I’ll give you 110 more to drive your message home with no bull. But please: No 30-page PowerPoints. If Moses could present the commandments in two slides, five bullet points each, so can you.
I speak at hundreds of places worldwide every year, and I am constantly amazed by the inability of entrepreneurs, business owners, their managers, or their sales and marketing representatives to deliver a great, relevant 118. It is an essential piece in building your brand.
This is usually where people start to nod their heads and say, “I know.” But I am not looking for an “Amen.” I’m looking for action. This is proof of life, people, and no time to nod in agreement or say, “I know I should do that.” So, stop what you are doing right now and write down your 118. Keep fogging that mirror!