Enough about you, let’s talk about me for a while. Every company has an elevator pitch, a quick, pithy 30-second summary of who you are and what you do. Unsuspecting elevator-riders, cocktail party goers, and assorted passersby are treated with 30 seconds of you: how smart you are, how good you are, how much other people think of you. We do this on our websites, in proposals, in our collateral material, and we are invariably the stars of our own shows. As captivating as this is, to us, how compelling is it to the person to whom you’re talking?
I’m not denigrating elevator speeches. You need one handy in case someone says, “Who are you, what do you do, and just how great are you?” But when you deliver yours, are you addressing the listeners’ issues, their pain? What are your customers complaining about when you’re not around? Bob London, a terrific B2B marketing and communications consultant inspired me when he told me about the “elevator rant.” He offered a much different take on those 30 seconds.
Rant Like A Customer, Not A Boss
What are your customers’ biggest issues and problems? What are they complaining about? What are they ranting about when they have 30 seconds in an elevator? And is what you are trying to sell going to help them or just give them something else to rant about? If you align what you are selling to their rant, you will see a major uptick in sales.
How do you find out what their rant is? Ask them.
- What are your biggest challenges?
- What competitive pressures are being put on you?
- What are your priorities for the next year?
- What are your service providers not giving you that you need?
- What would it take for you to become a customer of mine for life?
Here is an example of what you might be saying now as part of your elevator pitch: “We understand technology and help our customers make sense of what’s out there.” Expect a polite nod and then deafening silence for the remainder of the ride because, quite frankly, so what?
The customer’s position might be: “There are thousands of providers that understand technology. Our problem is that we can’t implement a new technology without excessive costs and outrageous delays. We need someone to get our technology implemented successfully on time and within budget.” This is their rant, and if you can get this done for them, they’ll be customers for life.
In pitches, proposals, and on your website, forget about you. Make it about the customers and their rants. Show them that you get it, and that you have the solution. In your elevator rant, cover:
- Who you are (briefly!)
- Why they need you (articulate the customer’s rant).
- How you serve that need (your approach to addressing their rant).
If you can work these three aspects into your elevator rant, you will connect immediately and never waste 30 seconds of customer time, or your time, again.