Posted by: Joe Hoffman | January 11, 2008

The Elevator Pitch and the Bass Curve

As a kind of follow up on my brief note about the Bass Curve I happened to have a conversation last evening with a prior EAP student who will be opening his business in April and we got into the issue the Word of Mouth side of the Bass curve. Ralph has an intuitive understanding of the problem and knows that Networking will be a critical issue for him. He is already taking advantage of all his prior relationships, Volunteer Fire Department, friends, clubs that he belongs to and he has started to reach out to various networking groups. That’s all good. BUT!

I asked him how he presents the business to all these potential trusted referrers and he began a longish discussion about why he is better, faster cheaper etc. All true, but people remember in sound bytes simple ideas. The problem for Ralph and many of us is that we find it very very difficult to get our message down to a few simple words and concepts people can remember and repeat.

Just look at the political campaigning that is going on right now. The candidates are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay people to come up with just the right memorable message. What do you do when you can’t afford to spend that kind of money for a consultant?

Suppose that you are in the Widget business.

Start with the “What’s in it for me?” message to the customer. What are your differentiator(s) from the other Widget folks. Are your Widgets the ones to buy because the customer will get wealthier, happier, be looked up to by their friends and neighbors? You get the idea. It not about you. The message is about the customer from the customers viewpoint.

Next, shrink that message down to a few words. Easy to say, difficult to do.

Test it on your friends. Deliver the message, and ask them in a week or so to tell you what you do or sell. I’ll bet they get it wrong.

Time to go back to the top again, redo the message, tighten the code. Test again.

After a few rounds you will have gotten things into shape and have a concise and memorable “elevator pitch”.


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