Posted By Amanda Collins on August 14, 2009
Whether you’re a business owner, sales rep, or job seeker, you’ve likely attended a networking event where you’ve had to give your 15- or 30-second commercial. As a business owner, I go to these often. I even sub at many BNI meetings, where some offer 60 seconds to say pretty much nothing.
The BNI adage is, “You have to be specific to be terrific.” The crazy thing is that, at one of the BNI groups where I sub, two members used absolute no-nos in their commercials. An Arbonne representative said, “I can help anyone with skin,” and the chiropractor said, “I can help anyone with a spine.” Seriously, it was all I could do not to laugh. These are the examples that are used to NEVER say. When you say “anyone,” people typically hear “no one.”
How do you improve your value statement in 30 seconds? The golden rule is to always consider what you can do to help listeners. If you’re asking for a specific referral, make it specific. The photographer at another BNI group almost always mentions a name. Granted, no one in the room may know that person, but it’s worth a shot. And you can’t be more specific than saying a name. If you’re not looking for one particular person, personalize your approach. Try something like, “When you’re talking to your friends and they say, ‘I’m concerned that my company will be laying off soon,’ – that’s the perfect referral for me.”
Don’t talk about what you do; talk about how you help. For instance (not that this is perfect), I say:
“I’m Amanda Collins, Chief of Staff with The Grammar Doctors. I help you stay in front of your targeted audience through strategic marketing in the form of blogs, newsletters, advertorials, and résumés. If you’d prefer to write these items yourself, I can also edit them to make sure they’re perfect! No matter what your objective is, The Grammar Doctors has the prescription for your word ailments.”
I don’t typically say who my target audience is because, in my experience, I’m usually the only person around who does what I do. Also, once I added “products” to my commercial (as opposed to just services: writing and editing), I noticed that my positive feedback and referrals skyrocketed.
So start thinking about your value proposition. How can you help people? Who’s your best client? Would you be interested in listening to what you’re saying? It’ll likely take some practice and testing to get a few great commercials, but if you’re focused on your listener, you’ll see a difference in the feedback you receive.