How your friends destroy your marketing message.

A lot of blood, sweat, and tears goes into crafting your ‘elevator speech’ (I hate that term). You’ve probably agonized over it, striving to catch just the right tone and wording. Finally, you’re (hopefully) finished.

For the final blessing, you turn to your friends and colleagues, and test it out. They respond:

“That’s great! I love it. Go for it.”

They’ve just killed you with kindness.

Are they lying? No, they aren’t. They sincerely like it. The problem is, they aren’t your clients. Or, worse yet, they might be potentially clients, even if they are friends or colleagues, but you’d never know it.

So, what’s going on?

The true purpose of the so-called ‘elevator speech.’

Your 30-second shpiel is not meant to win you a client or a contract. It’s not meant to sell your t-shirts, or anything else you sell.

The only thing your marketing ‘tagline’ if you will is supposed to do is help the person who hears it decide if they want to walk into your store or not. It’s just a window display that helps them decide: “Is this something I’m interested in, or do I know someone who might be?”

That’s it. It doesn’t have to do such heavy lifting. In fact, 30 seconds is way too long. One or two sentences is plenty. Because once you’ve spoken them, they’ll know immediately if they have ‘the response’ or not.

The only response that counts.

The only response that counts is if someone can either say, “That’s me!” or if immediately, without having to think about it or be prompted in any way, faces or names of people they know jump into their mind.

“I help women who are struggling with chronic illness and still want to contribute in the world.” Immediately, I’m seeing the faces of women I know who fit this.

“We help people in business for themselves, who got into business to make a difference, but really, really need to make a profit.” “You do? My buddy Tim needs to talk to you.”

When a client of ours landed on the right message, she tested it out on friends, and they didn’t say: “Oh, I like that.” They said: “Wow, I didn’t know that’s what you were doing. Can you help me?”

THAT’s the response you’re looking for.

Oh, there might be one other response.

The other response: “That’s nice.”

Sheer indifference will be what comes up for people who aren’t interested, and who don’t know anyone else who is. Which is absolutely fine.

You can walk past an automotive speciality shop, and if you’re into cars, you get drawn towards the open door like a magnet. But if you’re not, you might not even notice that store is there.

It’s not necessary that your message wow people, or even be that remarkable. It just needs to be clear enough to call someone’s name, so the right people can say: “That’s me- I want to talk to you about this.”

The Who-Who-What

I don’t call this message a ‘tagline’ or an ‘elevator speech.’ I call it the “Who-Who-What” after the three elements that make it up. Once you have these three elements right, you’ll be calling your best clients’ names, and they’ll respond, with interest.

Let me explain these three to you.

Keys to Calling Your Clients’ Name

• The First Who: Demographic.

A demographic is something observable or independently identifiable. “Women over forty” is a demographic, as well as, “people in small business” or “bicultural Dutch citizens.”

Many people resist having a demographic because it seems so limiting, or strange. I say, get creative with it! It’s incredibly grounding to your business. After all, “people who buy ten chocolate bars a week” is also a demographic. They might hide it from you, but it can be verified.

What is your demographic- who are you really wanting to reach.

• The Second Who: Psychographic.

A psychographic is an internal belief or identity that someone holds, but is not independently verifiable. Someone who “wants to make a difference” is a psychographic. “Loves chocolate” is another psychograhic.

The psychographic is what brings your demographic alive. “People in small business” is incredibly generic, but tag on the psychographic: “who want to make a difference in the world” and suddenly it’s very specific.

A demographic plus a psychographic is very powerful. But you need one more thing.

• The What: The problem they are facing that you help solve.

The reason you’re even in business is to help someone solve a problem. It could be a serious problem, like someone struggling with their health. Or it could be a serious problem of a different nature, like a millionaire who doesn’t know which yacht to buy.

No, I’m not comparing these two problems, I’m just saying that a problem is serious if your client thinks it’s serious. And if you think it’s worth solving, and you have the product or service that helps, voila, you’ve got a business.

When you have a problem, what do you do with it? That’s right you, you focus on it. You struggle with it, complain about it, dream about it, wake up at 3am about it. It’s in front of you all the time.

If you name the problem, you’ll have their attention, especially after you’ve named the two Who’s, because there will be no doubt you are talking to them.

While it’s true that identifying your Who-Who-What is not the easiest job in the world, it is the most powerful thing you can do for your business. And, when you test it on your friends, don’t be surprised if, instead of “Oh, I like that.” you hear: “Wow, can I hire you?”