I was just listening to a marketing CD set in the car (aren't I always?) and the topic of conversation on the portion of the program I'm at is all about USPs - Unique Selling Propositions, also known as UVPs - Unique Value Propositions, or most commonly amongst salespeople, Elevator Speeches.
The concept is simple: It's a way to very quickly and easily communicate the value of what you're selling, and why people should buy it.
Done right, they're simple and direct. The USP of the Never Cold Call Again system is that when you buy it, you'll never have to cold call again. The USP of my online marketing firm is that we turn websites into printing presses for money.
Simple. But, there are three big mistakes people make when using the USP, or "Elevator Speech", and that's why most of them suck:
Big Mistake #1
The first big mistake is usually attributed to sales managers - they want salespeople to come up with their own USPs, rather than have a direct and simple one for the entire company to use, as I have with my marketing consultancy.
This is stupid. Each salesperson does not need to have their own. Have one that's simple, concise, and consistent across the entire organization.
Big Mistake #2
Big mistake #2 is making it too long, which in turn dilutes the message and defeats the entire purpose. And this is where I really hate the term "Elevator Speech" - it implies that it should be relatively long, and most books will tell you it should be 30 seconds.
Think about that - if I took either of the value propositions I mentioned above: "Buy it and you'll never have to cold call again," or, "We turn websites into printing presses for money," the impact of those messages would be largely lost!
This rule goes for networking events too. Just because you get a 30-second introduction doesn't mean you should ramble on to fill the 30 seconds. I've just given you a pair of 5-second introductions that work better than any 30-second "elevator speech."
Big Mistake #3
Big mistake #3 is the idea that the point of a USP or elevator speech - whatever you prefer to call it - is that it's meant to be used for cold calling.
I don't have to explain why this is so - I've spent enough time and hundreds of emails to explain why cold calling doesn't work anymore! But more importantly, crafting a message to be used for cold calling will cause it to be crafted in a way that expects rejection, since 97-99% of all cold calls result in rejection.
I just received a message today from someone on LinkedIn who bought my system and realized just how badly she has been crafting her sales messages to come from a position of weakness, and an expectation of rejection. It was the experience of recording some videos of herself giving her 'pitch' that caused her to realize just how weak and pathetic any salesperson comes across when they give a talk, or USP, or "elevator speech," that's intended to be used on a cold call.
Why Do 'Elevator Speeches' Fail?
Quite simply, they fail for the reasons I gave above, but they fail most frequently and most dramatically when used in conjunction with cold calling.
Elevator speeches/USPs are intended to be used for marketing.
If you're a salesperson rather than a business owner, then you must use them for self-marketing, a term I coined over a decade ago to describe the strategies I teach.
For more information, see the official Never Cold Call Again site at http://www.nevercoldcallagain.net