Sunday, April 10, 2011

How's Your First Impression?

You only get one chance to make a good 1st impression on someone. If you’re in sales, it is even more important you come across as both friendly and knowledgeable. But keep in mind, while both of these traits are important, don’t overdue either one.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Elevator Pitch”? We all have a canned story we try to use when we first meet a prospect and they ask the dreaded question “So, what do you do?”

There are many ways people answer these questions. Let’s for discussion purposes assume we have a real estate agent attending a networking event. Following are some of the methods people use when giving their sales speech.

There’s the “impress” method, which involves a person trying to make himself seem important by using titles. “I’m the Founder and Owner of a multi-million dollar, worldwide conglomerate in the housing market”. What? OK, what exactly does that mean? The Prospect is left scratching his head, wondering what he just heard. Not my idea of a great pitch……

Next, there is the “I’m intelligent” approach…..”I am employed in the high tech world working with Title 9 services, throughout the Northeast region of the United States. I deal with all of the Fortune 100 companies putting them in position to make money”. Huh?

Third, there is the “Title/Product “ approach……”I’m Director of Real Estate for my firm. We sell commercial and residential properties”. OK, at least I know what this person does for a living. He’s a sales guy, brokering properties to families in a downsized market, probably to people who will ultimately be foreclosed on. Of course, that is my assumption, but that’s what people do when you lead with a job title. The Prospect already forms an opinion of what you do, right or wrong. Either way, you’ve lost control of the Prospect and worse yet, you’ve become a commodity.

There are other approaches, as some people go into their company’s historical background “We’ve been in the real estate business for more than 100 years and have been the leading agent since my Great Grandfather started the firm in 1888”. Nice story for the dinner table, but it helps the Prospect how?

To earn the attention of the new prospect, you need to take a different approach. Something like "My company assists local businesses and familes who are in need of new surroundings.  We work with our clients to help them find affordable homes and/or business space which will allow them to improve  their current situations".   Incorporating words like “help”, “assist”, “coordinate”, "improve", “win”, “engage”, “launch”, and “develop” will create an air of approachability to your pitch, enabling the prospect to decide how you could help him in his business, as opposed to selling him something for his business. The soft approach by implying you are there to help his business goes a long way and creates the impression you are more of an expert in your field; a person people & companies come to because they need your services, not because you sold them your services.

One word of caution when developing your message is always try to avoid the word “consultant”. There is a common conception that consultants are people who are trying to start their own businesses after working for a large firm for many years. And their services are over-priced……..

The last thing to keep in mind is after you’ve written your message, PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! Practice to the point you can say it in your sleep. You want your message to roll off your tongue as if you’ve been giving it for decades…….putting a little extra effort into your sales intro will reap rewards down the road.

Good Luck and have fun creating your perfect “Elevator Speech”.

Please share your experiences with me as I enjoy hearing about other’s success stories……

1 comment:

  1. very nicely thought-out overview of how to self-advertise in an effective (rather than destructive) way.