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Say it in 30 Seconds, Be Your Own Brand

Updated on June 3, 2012

The ability to answer the above question concisely and coherently can make the difference to winning over a customer or client.

For an employee asked that question, mumbling something about I work for X company in X dept and I do the accounts, sales, or stock may be sufficient to get by and is likely to satisfy the person asking the question. But, if you’re the owner of a small business offering a service how you answer matters much more. Why is that? The person asking the question might actually need rather than want what your business offers.

Lack of ability to express what you can offer them without rambling into a long monologue about what your business does may be a huge turn off.

So let’s look at some tips that could help drive out the elements of what you offer into a pithy statement. This statement should last no longer than say 30 seconds to say, but pips their interest to enquire more. They actually ask you to call them because they are so interested in what you offer.

The assumption here is you're operating in a business context. Your 30 second speech will be different if you're on a date for the first time, joining a club or just trying to strike up conversation with the adjacent passenger travelling with you on a long haul flight.

Tip #1

Identify thru brainstorming with colleagues, of if you're a sole trader or practitioner, with family and friends what need your business is trying to meet at an individual level. Here are some examples:

  • If you own a small garden centre don’t say we sell pots and plants, say something like we help people make their gardens beautiful - their own little corner of paradise
  • If your business supplies heavy duty machinery like piling rigs to drill holes, don’t say we sell drills and heavy duty machinery, say something like we help civil engineers build the strongest foundations they can for multi-storey buildings
  • If you’re a self employed tourist guide don’t say I guide tourists round the city, say something along the lines of I make sure tourists city get a real appreciation of what our city has to offer you can mention popular attractions or landmarks

The above suggestions are not exhaustive but hopefully paint a picture of the ideas you need to get across to a prospective client or customer.

Tip #2

If appropriate, use analogies and find a connection with either yourself or business so you say, " we're like company x but with a heart, if for example company x is famous for its ruthless efficiency. Or, you could say we're like a train that never runs out of steam in our determination to serve our clients or customers in the best way we can. Hopefully, you get the picture of how to use this approach.

Tip #3

Base your 30 second pitch on what you know is truthful, you'll sound more convincing and you're more likely to remember. Whoever you meet will always get a consistent message.

Stay focussed and try not to overcome any silent gaps with waffle (for non Brits - speaking but not saying anything important or useful).

Next time you’re at a conference, meeting or stood next to someone who asks the question, “What is it you do?” you are prepared. You won’t fluster looking for the right words to say that could move your business a further rung up the ladder to success.

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