The Big Message: Articulating What You Do The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. Charles Du Bos The key is making a good first impression that appeals to your prospective clients’ needs. How do you do this? Is there a reliable way to get attention with just a few words? The way you present your business to the public can have a dramatic affect on how potential customers perceive you and your product or service. A key benefit is that you control your public presentation and can fine tune it so that it communicates your true message to potential customers. First impressions are made on the way you look, and are quickly pursued by the first words out of your mouth. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of small business owners become more aware of the personal power they can create through a professional image and through successfully articulating what they do. Most professionals and business owners find themselves in situations where they are asked, “What do you do?” Most people respond with a label. I am a Business Coach. I am a management consultant. I repair jewelry. This does not work because people may not understand what you do, or may have preconceived ideas of, let’s say, a used car salesman. It is wise to have a three to five minute elevator speech that is a well-prepared series of phrases about yourself, your company, what you do, how you do it, and with whom. Armed with this speech, you can turn any brief encounter into a big win for you and your business. You can also shorten the version for quick encounters. Start with the first ten seconds. What if ten seconds is all you get? Tell your audience enough so that they understand what you do and inspire them to want to know more. Examples: Ř I work with home manufacturing companies that are tired of losing money because of employee attrition. Ř We work with companies who are frustrated with losing money because of internal conflict and want to better communicate needs and values. Ř I work with small business owners struggling to attract more clients and who are looking for ways to design and grow their businesses to make more money and save time consistently. Ř I work with management teams that are tired of just stuffing it and assist those who desire to value themselves and their team, quickly and on target. Ř I assist people who suffer from stiffness and joint pain with which they have been dealing all their lives and do not know what to do about it. Ř I assist entrepreneurs who are ready to grow their own business. First, I help them discover what success means to them and find the vision for their business to implement. I’m your Small Business Coach. Exercise Let’s look at a formula, brainstorm, and start crafting your statement of what you can do for people. I am ________ (your name). I (help, work with, or assist) ________ (name your target market) who are ________ (name their problem, challenge, or issue). ________(a key benefit or why I would do business with you), and ________ (Unique Competitive Advantage – something that sets you apart from your competition.) . Brainstorm your ten-second to one minute attention getting introduction: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Now that you have written it down, practice out loud several times until you can say it naturally. Now, brainstorm situations where you can use it and write some scenarios: Networking______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ On the telephone ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ On your message or answering machine ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In social settings ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Remember that you want to initiate an interesting conversation. If asked, “How do you do that?” you can always follow up with a story. “We recently worked with a client who (name the situation)…” ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Say what you did for them ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ What happened as a result of your work together? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ Your main objective is to get attention, move to your benefit statement, and then to your stories. Your prospect now knows what you do, with whom, and the results, which is perhaps a potential solution to their problems and they will want more. Now that you have your client’s attention, he may be ready to explore working with you, and you can make an appointment to learn more and persuade him to buy from you. Scripts Are you prepared when you get voice mail or have to make a telephone call or meet in person? Know what you want to say before you pick up the phone and decide how you want to say it. This is a good way to eliminate your nervousness and will make you sound relaxed and confident on the phone.