We’re continuing on with our list of questions we should be asking ourselves if we’re getting ready to start a business or just need a refresher course for a business boost.
- Am I clearly communicating my value proposition?
This is a continuation of question #2 from last week which was “what is my value proposition”. As I said, it’s good that you know it but you have to memorize an elevator speech to ensure that others can know what’s in your brain, too.
Here are some good things to remember when constructing an elevator speech (30 sec) or the longer CFB speech (Challenges, Features, and Benefits - 3 minutes):
- KISS – keep it simple, stupid. Some people will try to soup up their speech with big words and important-sounding phrases. Stop it. Big words or phrases simply make you sound pretentious and pompous. Sell your small business, sure, but don’t try to puff yourself up to twice your size. Not only that, but you don’t ever really know WHO you’ll be giving this memorized speech to, so you should make the language simple enough that anyone from any walk of life can understand it.
- Focus on the why. As I’ve said numerous times during these talks, it is MUCH more important that your listener understand how you can help them, than it is for them to remember your business name or what kind of stuff you have. So, if you need to mention either of those, keep it short and don’t repeat it. “My name is Angie and I’m the co-owner of Mountain Harvest Media. We create print, video, and online content for the express purpose of helping small businesses gain an edge on their competition so that they can grow and bring in new customers. We can help with all of the above or just a small piece of it. What about you? What do you do for a living?” I usually ask that question at the end to be personable and start a conversation, but also because I seem less full-of-myself if my interest immediately rolls onto them and what they do. I can also use that as a springboard to ask about their current advertising and how that’s working for them (or not). You only need 30 seconds for a good elevator speech. For a longer presentation, I suggest keeping your promo video on your phone (if you don’t have one yet, ask me about that!) so that you can show it while you give your 3 min CFB pitch – Challenges, Features, and Benefits. Let them know you are aware of their challenges (if you don’t know your typical client’s challenges, you should figure it out!). Then, let them in on a few of the products or services you provide. Lastly, explain to them how those products or services will be of great benefit to them – that’s your why, so focus mainly on this part. After your CFB pitch, you can ask for the sale directly, or ask if they’d like to have coffee with you (your treat) so that they can tell you more about what they do. People love free coffee and they love talking about themselves, so that’s a win-win for them!
- If you’re at a meet-and-greet don’t forget to F.R.O.G. – that’s how you get new friends to talk about themselves….and you want them to because they will feel like you value them as a person if you are interested in them instead of just giving your speech and moving on. The easiest sale is one you make with your kindness and winning personality – not your flashy stuff. So, ask about Family, Recreation (hobbies), Occupation, and Goals. Your listener will remember you above all others if you show interest in them as people.
All in all, it’s wildly important that you express your value clearly and with interest in the other person/people in the room.
- Is my product/service a “real” business?
This goes back to my stunning idea for bible stories painted on seashells. (note the sarcasm) It might be a niche market for billionaires, in which case it might be profitable for you, or it may be something that’s only of interest to you, which makes it a hobby…nothing more.
To take this a bit further, though, let’s talk about how you find out if it’s a real business or not. Ask around – ask the internet and ask some of your more honest friends/colleagues. Ask your spouse. And be honest with yourself. If EVERYONE around you is telling you that it’s a cute idea, but they wouldn’t buy it, then don’t be pig-headed and prideful – listen to their advice. I think of this every time I see a commercial for a really dumb invention – who’s mother let them try to sell this piece of junk?? Like the toothbrush that automatically dispenses toothpaste from the handle….I mean, I know people are generally lazy, but surely no one is THAT lazy! Plus, putting the toothpaste tube into the toothbrush handle actually looked more time consuming and costly than just squeezing the tube manually onto your brush. Those people dumped thousands of dollars into a prototype and advertising that went nowhere. Because of their pride, they wasted time and money on that dumb invention and there are TONS of them out there. So…just do some research to make sure you’re selling something that people actually want!
I hope these blogs are helpful for you! If you need further help with selling your value, see some of our work here, then contact us to see what we can do for you! We exist to help small businesses in Colorado thrive!