Elevator Conversation—What’s the “One Thing” your firm is known for?

by IdeaTransfer on May 22, 2011

Elevator Conversation is consultant shorthand for positioning value in a unique, informal and memorable fashion.  If you can’t get your value proposition out in an elevator ride or over a punchbowl, don’t expect customers to figure it out on their own.

There is a simple structure to an Elevator Conversation.  Pretend potential customers ask you what your company does.

Well, it does lots of things, but the question isn’t looking for a list.  Think back to the film City Slickers, when Jack Palance held up one finger and asked Billy Crystal, “What’s your one thing?”  Now apply that question to your business or your product or service.

Decide what is the one thing set you apart from the rest, and convert that idea into your customer’s perspective.  That is your positioning statement.   Your tagline.  Your soundbite.

If your pretend customers like what they hear then the follow-up will be, “That’s interesting, how do you do that?”

Now go deeper into your customers’ experience of the problem your company solves.   “We know most people feel they….”  Turns out that is exactly what your pretend customer feels, so now you have their attention.  “Our approach to that problem offers three advantages ….”

You are on a roll, and the person takes the next step by putting himself/herself into the picture.  “I have a very similar problem.  I think you may have the solution.”

Your Elevator Conversation is part mission statement, part ad copy, and all friendly human connection wrapped up in a few sentences.  But its real power lies in how easily everyone who hears it can repeat it.  It becomes word-of-mouth advertising, a referral script, a recruiting pamphlet.

Why don’t you share your Elevator Conversation here, where you are among friends.  Put it in a comment and you will get some great free advice.


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