3 Begin with a Message Your Pitch

Chapter 3
Begin with a Message
Your Elevator Pitch / USP

It doesn’t matter how small or large your goals may be—you always need a plan. In this case you need a marketing plan as part of your business plan.

How do you begin to put together a marketing plan? Well it all has to start with a message.

In order to properly put together a marketing plan you must first have to figure out your message. You need to decide on what you want your business to say to people.

This message will be laced through everything you do. The message needs to grab the attention of people and make them want to use your business. The message also has to set you apart from other people.

This message is called your “elevator pitch or USP”; some say it should be as short as 30 seconds and should take no more than 2 minutes to convey. (It was given this name because you should be able to tell someone exactly what you do while you’re in an elevator together. That is about all of the time that you will have.)

We lean towards 30 seconds or less, which is about 90 words. Many people won’t listen for more than 15 seconds; if you’re a fast talker then you’ll rock.

Fact is, the vast majority of companies don’t have this simple but essential positioning statement in place. They never took the time to define their business model in clear concise words. In fact, many companies set up shop, open the doors, and hope for the best.

You’re going to change that. Most businesses don’t have a true focus. Your Elevator Pitch / USP can form the foundation for your entire business. It can give you something to strive for every day to be the best you possibly can be for your customer.

So how do you determine what your USP is?

This is where you turn detective, break out the Yellow Pages, and start reading to see what your competition is saying about their own business.

This means you have to make a list of their USPs for each and every competitor that you have. With this list you can now determine what areas that your competition is weak in or where you can excel above your competition.

You may find that your competition is all saying about the same thing in their ads, if they’re all saying the same thing how can any 1 business hope to be successful with their ads? They may think they can, but logic has it, not likely.

This is where you have to think outside the box: Take your competition’s USPs and see how you can make yours better. What kind of twist can you put to what your competition is doing that makes yours better?

Look at a national company and what they did. The car company used the slogan, “We Try Harder”. It was simple but it worked; now that’s outside the box.

Some of the most successful USPs include:

  • Dominoes Pizza promising to deliver your pizza in 30 min. or less or the pizza is free.
  • FedEx; promising to absolutely deliver a product, overnight.
  • The Subway chain positioning itself as a fast food alternative that will help you lose weight.
  • American Express credit cards; claiming that they are accepted everywhere in the world.

A great USP can be anything about your business that provides a benefit to your customer that other businesses don’t do. But it doesn’t always have to be a benefit.

A great example of this is the McDonald’s fast food chain restaurants putting on all their signs just below the “M” that they have served over 1 billion hamburgers or whatever the number may be right now. This actually feeds in to the herd mentality that exists in society.

People love to follow others, so a person seeing that so many other people have eaten in a restaurant will be more likely to eat at that restaurant. Again this worked, again thinking outside the box.

Okay, I get it, now you say it’s time to sit down and create your own USP. How should you start, what questions should you USP answer?

“Why should a person choose my business over any other business?”

Simply put, your USP / Elevator Pitch should answer that question.

That’s the importance of the USP. And it can make the difference how easy success comes to you. A great USP can put you well on the way to success, early success at that. I’m not going to say that you’re going to be the next Yahoo or Google but you just might be the next Zappos.

Above all don’t forget to ask your friends what they think your USP should be.

Building Your Elevator Pitch.

To us the USP isn’t just part of your elevator pitch. We believe that it is the heart of your elevator pitch.

Taking the time to write your elevator pitch forces you to find the focus of your business, so let’s start with the precious facts that you may want to think about when creating your elevator pitch. Most of these won’t come as any surprise to you.

This is a good time to be reminded of them:

  1. Customers like honesty.
  2. Customers will be loyal to a business that they trust.
  3. Customers like a good job done as fast as possible.
  4. Customers want authenticity, not spin.
  5. Customers want participation, not propaganda.
  6. Customers like the professional look of businesses.
  7. Customers like to be treated professionally as well.
  8. Customer service should be your number one priority at all times.
  9. Not all potential customers are the same; therefore, not all potential customers will react the same way to your elevator pitch.
  10. If somebody takes your pitch as being odd or funny or peculiar, don’t you be offended, try to use that to your benefit.
  11. Do your best to not offend your customer. If your pitch is one that can be misinterpreted, then maybe you should try for something not so questionable. Might be a good time to rethink your elevator pitch.

One example of how people might have different likes and dislikes is if your pitch is attractive to teenagers it may not be attractive to the elderly.

This is clearly the case of you need to make your pitch geared towards the consumer that you want to target. Sounds simple, right?

So let’s get started.
These are the questions you need to answer within that first 15-30 seconds of meeting someone who may inquire as to what you do:

  1. Who is it about? What customers can you serve?
  2. What is your specialty? What do you do?
  3. What can you do to solve their problem? What are your solutions that can help eliminate a problem?
  4. Why are you better than the competition? How are you different?
  5. What does a customer need to do to take advantage of your business? In other words, tell customers how they can use your services; ask for their business.

Now put it all together. Write it all in a paragraph format and read it to yourself make adjustments by trying different words until it sounds right.

Once you’re happy with it, read it to your friends and colleagues. Read it people who have no idea what you do and ask them if your elevator pitch makes it clear.

Now the pitch:

  • Identify who you are and what your specialty is. For example,
    “Hello my name is Frank and I am a businessman specializing in widgets.”
    Remember your USP?
  • Describe your specialty in more detail. It needs to do more than that, though; it also needs to identify the problem that exists and how you solve that problem. Include what you do to solve it.
  • How you are different from your competition, what makes you different? Why you are better? Set your business apart from your competition.
  • Tell your prospect what to do next, be specific, and supply a strong call to action.

A couple of last tips: Don’t say too much. Be quick and concise. Use complete sentences. Be clear and simple. Dumb it down. Seriously,
That’s it.

Second, dumb it down. Seriously, get rid of the jargon and catch phrases, even the ones you think everybody should know. They don’t. People not in your field don’t know the industry vernacular or verbiage, so take it out. You want it to be at sixth grade level; your message has to be easy to understand.

This project is far more important than you might think. It forms the basis for everything else you do.

To recap: The points your elevator pitch should address.

  • Number one identifies you.
  • Number two tells your prospects what problem(s) you solve.
  • Number three tells your prospect why you are better than your competition.
  • Number four gives a call to action!

Make adjustments as you see fit to refine it over time. In fact, construct 3-4 elevator pitches and test them. See which ones get the best responses. Test and tweak. That’s a term you’ll hear throughout this book.             Test and Tweak.

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