When your cash flow is in danger
When your prospects act like strangers
When your business plan has turned to fog
There is one thing you should learn
When there is no one else to turn to
Call . . . . . . . for Underdog
He will fix your LINKEDIN page
And help you find the words to say
To differentiate you from the mob
There is one thing you should learn
When there is no one else to turn to
Call . . . . . . . for Underdog
Elevator pitches suck because we were trained to be obedient and answer questions when and as they are asked.
The question that triggers our elevator pitch is, “What do you do?”
And most of us, most always, answer the question as we were taught. We tell people in agonizingly boring detail what we do.
This is why our elevator pitches suck.
The interesting part about what we do is either the problem that we solve or the glorious result we produce. But that wasn’t the question!
Well, from now on, think like a politician and answer the question that you feel like answering. Once you start being interesting, the person who asked will forget the question anyway.
To improve your elevator pitch, ignore the question. Break free of your obedience-school training to answer the question asked and tell us something really interesting.
One alternative is to tell a story about a recent or most interesting client. What issue did they have and what was the result.
Even though we are all created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, often it is not the case and / or we think it is not the case.
When we feel the lesser, we are in an “underdog position”, so says author Amy Showalter in her book The Underdog Edge: How ordinary people change the minds of the powerful and Live to tell about it.
She cites many real life stories of how people in underdog positions have in fact influenced their big dog opponents and won the day. She writes about the strategies, tactics and mindsets that these ordinary / extraordinary people used.
Ordinary / extraordinary. That is the essence of underdog. When the game begins, the field is most unlevel and in the end, thanks to the cleverness, persistence and actions of these underdogs, it is nicely leveled.
The world is full of unlevel playing fields. We need more underdogs.
Be defiant. Outwit the giant.
In general the purchase decision boils down to a solution and a problem as quantified by a person, or group of. Someone or some business needs something fixed or built and then a search for solution begins. Most sales people are looking for these people who are looking for a solution. The most traveled sales path is a game of GO FISH. Every so often, the sales person needs to contact their prospect and ask if they are yet in search mode. You know, “just touching base”. Checking to see if you have any kings? There are others playing against you. And like the card game, this sales game is about being the lucky one to call at just the right time? The less traveled path is to build a relationship with the person based on how you approach problems. Examples of what you have done are helpful but more helpful, is the process by which you assessed the problem that led to a solution. The fundamental difference between the two paths is that the path less traveled focuses on the prospect and the process by which problems are defined. The more traveled approach is focusing on solutions. On the less traveled path, we speak with prospects and discuss the process by which we approach and appreciate problems. This path is that of the trusted adviser.
When reading the paper, I skim headlines, sometimes read lead paragraphs and sometimes read the article.
Is this selection process similar to the purchase decision?
The articles I read, like the things I buy, are interesting to me; and ”interesting” is that which is similar (or non-threatening) to what I already think and believe.
I will not read the entire article if it is disagreeable or contrary to my thinking. Reading the full article is akin to buying the product.
May I propose that people buy that which interests them, is similar to them, fits their current mindset and or situation. And people will not buy that which is too far from their current mindset.
People prefer to serve their current position and will not be open to something too different.
This seems congruent with the proposition that people do not like change, big change. Big change is disagreeable or contrary.
But, we all want, or at least have an interest in, better. And so, the change we want is small and gradual.
And so when bringing something to market pay attention to each prospective buyer as the individual they are. Understand their current position because where they are now is most critical to their decision to change (buy your offer.)
Do you know your prospective buyer’s mindset? Your product value remains constant, the difference in the likelihood of sale is the buyer and how close are they to your product value.
That which is for sale is somewhere between near and far from the buyer’s mindset; that which is purchased is near.
I base this proposition on my reading selectivity. I think it a similar decision.
Perhaps the most often asked question in human existence is, “What do you do?”
The answer is frequently called an elevator pitch.There are many different formats and strategies to crafting this answer. And we seldom stay with the same one for very long. Therefore, we might be better served to have several different answers.
Here are 5 different takes on your “quick pitch”:[1 – Exceed Help] Don’t use the verb “help”. Do something more meaningful. [2 – They hire me to] In one sentence mention one of your niche markets and the reason they hire you.
Small business owners in Charlotte hire me to rewrite their Linkedin profiles.[3 – I Solve] State boldly, “I solve this”, after a brief statement of the problem you solve.
You know how business people tend to delay and avoid their bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities? I solve this Problem. I solve it by ….[4 – The Lean Couplet] There is much written today about the Lean Start-up and the Lean canvas. When this methodology is focused on a business, it begins with 2 questions that must always be answered in tandem:  What is the problem that your business solves? And  Who specifically has this problem?
One person businesses (solo-preneurs) wear many hats and have constant issues with time. Finding and meeting with new prospects is a time-consuming, inefficient and important exercise. I teach them how to use Linkedin to meet with a steady and planned number of prospects every week, spending little time.[5 – Glorious Result] After the problem has been determined and you have been hired and did your thing, what did the customer then experience?
My customers are business owners who now know for sure that their sales people are well paid and that their company bottom line is and will be as forecast.
Too many times our “quick pitches” are not quick and not memorable.Next time, be armed with several answers and use the one that might best suit the person who asked.
PS — 2 extra thoughts on differentiation: Avoid superlative adjectives. They are over-used. Simple unadorned sentences are more professional.  Being “passionate” is over-used today. Just because you really really enjoy doing something does not add anything to the customer’s decision to hire you.
The “yaktivist” is one who talks more than they do.
It’s hard to know what or who a person is until they are seen in action. It’s activity that defines a person. Be careful of smooth talkers. And keep a reserved opinion of them until their actions are seen, heard or felt.
There is one particular American occupation that exemplifies this point – politician. Partly, this is due to the process by which they get hired. For until they get elected, we have no idea what their actions might be. Until they get elected, they are all words.
So too are we who sell. Until a prospect buys and uses and experiences our solution, we too are mostly words.
Sellers can and should learn from politicians. Their use of words is usually very smart. And if we can figure out a way to display some action within and during our sales process, perhaps we can enhance our influence.
What do you do best?
What have you been officially trained to do?
Are you certified in something?
What degrees do you hold?
At what have you spent 1000 hours learning to do?
The next time someone describes what they do, dare to ask them the above questions.And of course, the next time you start squawking about what you do, be prepared for someone to ask, how so?
How have you acquired your power?
And you have. You’ve earned the right to be bold and brave. You do have the background, experience and training.
Stand tall and let’s do what we do best. Let’s be super-specific about that which we do. We may be good at several things and things closely related to what we do best. But that which we do truly best, that is our super-power.
And it solves a specific problem for a specific market segment.
Everyone is the wrong answer.
When asked or when thinking about the question, Who are your customers? Everyone is wrong. Everyone means everybody, every breathing soul, everywhere. English translates the Spanish todo el mundo to everybody, but literally it means “all the world”. All the world is too big and too diverse.  Everyone in your town is wrong. How many people between the ages of 1 and 100 are actually in your town? And if they all wanted your help tomorrow, how many could you serve? Not all. Every business has a capacity. There is only so much we can do and we cannot serve everyone in town.
But now we’re on the path towards a right answer. We just narrowed the answer by billions. And we can continue to add parameters to further simplify and better identify who are customers might be. Such as, gender, age, occupation, marital status, parental status, self-employed and many more.
But what if you started from the other perspective? Start with one: one of your most favorite customers. Who is this person? Can you find another like them? You can.
Have you ever seen these phrases?
“People similar to . . .”
“People also viewed”
They’re on Linkedin. They can lead you to another one, and one is better than everyone.
Dan Pink in his book To Sell is Human introduces the concept , “Informational Parity”.. It describes almost every sales market today. It is the ubiquitous availability of information.
Today, every buyer knows everything they want or need to know about anything that they might be interested in buying. And they research it prior to contacting a vendor.
Prior to this informational explosion, way back in say 2007, sales people brought news, product knowledge and insight into their products and services. Today, not so much.
Today, no matter what the question, “google it” is a viable and very common answer.
Often, by the time the buyer contacts a seller today, the buyer is more informed about the product or service than the sales rep who will be soon arriving, which is why many companies employ sales engineers, who must know the product specs and details perfectly.
And so, if knowledge is not a differentiator, what then are buyers considering in their decision making process? Why would they choose you?