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I was chatting to an old client from my last company about how his business was getting on.

He was happy with it so far but felt that many of his potential prospects didn’t understand his company no matter how much he told them about what they did.

This reminded me of a quote I read in the Sandler book “You can’t teach a kid to ride a bike in a seminar”.

The book quoted George Bernard Shaw and said:

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.

So I asked about his thirty second commercial.

This stopped him dead in his tracks. “I have 2000 product lines; I can’t get that in a thirty second commercial! We need to sit down for 3 hours so that I can tell you about them”.

Clearly, if he wanted to list all his offerings in that time, thirty seconds was a tough ask.

Conversely, I wasn’t that hungry to listen to his product list for the time it takes me to drive from Manchester to London.

But is it effective and does he really needs to spit out a product list in a first call or interaction?

This is why a readily prepared thirty-second commercial can be so useful in shortening a sales process.

However, a common misconception of the “Thirty-second commercial” or the “elevator pitch” is that you have to talk about what you have, Features, Advantages, Benefit’s.

This might feel great for the “elevator pitcher” but often fails to meet the needs of the “elevator pitchee” and rarely can be achieved in thirty seconds. The result can often be confusion and discomfort. This can make both people in the conversation be “not OK”.

A thirty-second commercial can give enough of an indication to anyone, to understand if there was at least a future conversation to be had on this subject.

The listener has to understand that by engaging with this company, which pains may be taken away from them, leaving them with a clear vision of how the future could look.

You don’t have to mention in detail products or services, you just have to help them to understand how they typically will feel after a successful implementation of the product or service.

Focus on the pains that your product or service can eliminate. Help them imagine how their world can look without those pains. Then you can both see if there is a real business reason for you to spend any more time together.

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