If you're a sales executive you know many of your first meetings with prospective customers often feel like a job interview. Similar meeting preparation. Pointed questions. Friendly tension.
It's all for good reason. Your prospects want to know they can trust and believe in you. In fact, for many sales professionals, customers come to entrust them with more access than their own employees.
So, it's not surprising that one of the best places for sales people to go for articles, insight, wisdom, and advice is a career/job site like TheLadders.com. If you have yet to discover this site yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.
By far, the best part of the TheLadders.com site is the CEO's newsletter/blog. Marc Cenedella seems to always have something really useful that can be easily morphed into a useful sales tool or tip.
For example, Marc posted this article: "How Not To Embarrass Yourself Doing The Elevator Pitch." In the article, he gives his own "before" and "after" elevator pitch. Note: his refined pitch is 14% longer, so don't feel obligated to squeeze the life out of your pitch for the sake of brevity.
Before Pitch -- reads like a stuffed shirt:
"I'm a serial entrepreneur that started a company exporting US-made pet food to Japan after college. I graduated in the top 5% of my class at Harvard Business School, and was then the lead corporate development guy on the sale of HotJobs to Yahoo in 2002 for $436 million. I founded TheLadders.com seven years ago to focus on bringing high-level talent together with $100K+ jobs, and the company has grown to be an international success with over 300 employees." [79 words]
After Pitch -- loaded with emotional appeal:
"My passion in life is jobs. I love everything about them. It combines the soft stuff -- people's dreams and hopes and ambitions -- with the hard stuff -- where the jobs are in the economy, the numbers and algorithms and technology that make it possible. I've been doing this for over a decade and I find that I'm learning something new about making job hunts successful every day. Helping people through what is one of the most stressful experiences in their lives is tremendously rewarding and fulfilling, and I love doing it." [90 words]
Sales Pitch Conversion
As sales reps, we are forever polishing our sales pitches. So, I took his refined "after" pitch and turned it into something I could use.
My [new] Pitch
"My passion in life is making connections. It's the reason I absolutely love sales and marketing for small businesses. Nothing jazzes me more than creating valuable connections between people, technology, products, services, ideas and companies. It's tremendously rewarding and fulfilling. Getting paid to do it is just icing on the cake." [51 words]
How easy is that?
Try it yourself and let me know.
© 2011 John M. Fox. All Rights Reserved.
John Fox is the Founder and President of Venture Marketing, a B2B consulting firm that helps business owners get their sales and marketing un-stuck. For more, follow John on LinkedIn