Client Dev & Marketing
In a world awash in information, it's more important than ever to get straight to the point
When selling, the fastest way to turn off a potential customer is to talk for too long. I once asked New York real estate queen Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group for public speaking advice I could share with my clients.
Her response: "Nobody is as interested in you as you think they are." Harsh, perhaps, but she has a point. As information continues to overload us, it's more important than ever to be succinct. I often recommend that business owners practice describing their product or service in 140 characters (about 20 words) or less, the length of a message on Twitter. Try it yourself, then check out attempts by fellow readers.
Remember, sales prospects don't normally have the time to listen to your life story. You need to state your case and move on. If they're interested in learning more, they'll let you know. Here are several areas where it pays to keep it short.
In blogs. People read a page on a Web site more slowly than a printed page. So you might want to reconsider your 7,000 word treatise and replace it with a 700-word essay that includes just the key points. Better yet, offer an even shorter post with a few findings and a link to the full piece.
In e-mail. As a journalist, I received a ton of unsolicited pitches from public relations professionals. Many e-mails would contain great ideas but were so long and convoluted that I had to work too hard to figure out the story. Every journalist I know shares the same frustration. The most effective e-mails get right to the point.
In presentations. Some of the most noteworthy speeches in contemporary history (JFK's inaugural address, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and Barack Obama's 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention) were under 20 minutes. Ask whether or not you really need 70 minutes for your next big event. A well-crafted presentation should last no more than 20 minutes.
At events. My wife and I were in the food line at a Chamber of Commerce mixer when we asked the man behind us what his company did. We knew were in trouble when he responded, "That's a good question. Where should I start?" There were six people ahead of us but by the time our turn came five minutes later, I still didn't know what this man did, apart from something related to wireless something.
The next time you're trying to sell someone your product or service, try to do so in 30 seconds or less. Then gauge your listeners' reaction to see if they want to learn more. Be specific. Don't waste those 30 seconds with meaningless buzzwords like "best of breed" and "solutions." Earlier this month, 30 startups presented to a group of investors at an event called Launch Silicon Valley. Lumiette was voted one of the companies "most likely to succeed." Its elevator pitch was specific—it manufactures and distributes energy-efficient flat-panel lamps. In one sentence you learn that it makes a physical product (not a service) and you learn specifically about the type of product it makes.
There's power in brevity. As a rule, keep it short.
Carmine Gallo is the communication skills coach for the world's most admired brands.. He transforms executives into extraordinary presenters—working directly with the companies that touch your life every day. A former anchor and correspondent for CNN and CBS, Gallo works directly with the world’s top business leaders to help them craft compelling messages, tell inspiring stories and share their innovative ideas with a global audience. Gallo has addressed executives at Intel, Cisco, Google, Medtronic, Disney, The Four Seasons, SAP, Pfizer, Linked In, Chevron, SanDisk, Univision, Edmunds.com, and many other global brands. Gallo is also a popular keynote speaker whose customized multimedia presentations are a hit with audiences around the world.
Gallo writes leadership and communications columns for several media outlets including Forbes.com (My Communications Coach) Gallo has also written several bestselling and award-winning books including The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs which is the winner of an Axiom award for one of the top three best business books of 2011. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs has become an international bestseller and has been translated into 14 languages. Gallo’s next book, The Power of Foursquare, reveals how innovative businesses around the world are leveraging new mobile marketing tools to attract new customers, engage current customers, and extend their brand story to an entirely new audience of consumers.
Gallo has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Success Magazine and on CNBC. Gallo has also been asked to give presentations to marketing and MBA students at Stanford, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. He graduated with honors from UCLA and has a Master’s Degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern. Gallo lives in Pleasanton, California, with his wife and two daughters.
If you would like to book Carmine as a speaker for your next event, please contact Tom Neilssen at BrightSight Group, Carmine’s exclusive speaking agent.
Carmine is passionate about helping others tell their stories.
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