My next book is not even written, but I have the title. The entire book is going to be written around the title. The publisher, who usually names the book (the author loses those rights when you sign a contract and give the book to the publisher), has the final word.

Not in this case. The book is the title, so if they want the book, they have to want the title, as well. Are you ready for the title? It’s going to offend some people and I am going to get letters from some of you. I will be considerate and respond, but I will just be polite and really go through the motions to get back to you since I will not budge on my opinion.

Elevator speeches are crap; take the escalator.  

That is the book. I am guessing it will be about 100 pages or so with cute little cartoons to spruce it up. I am so tired of hearing all this nonsense about elevator speeches when it makes no sense in the world of sales. It is verbal vomiting. You heard me, it is throwing up all over the customer or client. Use your elevator speech in a commercial or on television if you want to get all your stuff out in 30 seconds. It has nothing to do with selling. It is like going on a blind date and in the first minute, you incessantly talk about yourself and what you can do for them. How dumb? That will be for a second date or long-term relationship.

Why would you do that on a business date? You are still trying to convince someone to like you and trust you. Don’t puke all over them. Why not try to ask some questions and find out a little about this person? People like to be around good listeners, not someone who is doing all the talking.

Let me make this real clear; marketing and selling are different. You are not a TV commercial or even an infomercial. You are in sales. Your role is to find out and ask, not tell, tell and tell more. When you walk out of their office, do they know everything about you or do you know all you should about them?

If you are a pro salesperson or one who is new and in the learning process, I hope you go with the latter.

I think there is a time and place for the elevator speech, but not in the first meeting, or even on the elevator. I think the other person would rather talk about himself or herself if you had asked a couple of thought-provoking questions. This is more enjoyable for them, rather than listening to you go on and on about your company or yourself. Always say, “What would I want if I was meeting someone for the first time?” 

I especially love how professional firms; such as law firms or accounting firms, embrace this notion. Some of these companies nationwide have hired marketing people to help attract business through the sales process. I do not want to hear about all they have done. I want to know what they can do for me. Many companies hire a marketing person and put them in the role of sales training. That is like hiring a football coach to teach music therapy. They don’t go hand in hand.

Instead of going to your destination too quickly and trying to pitch them, slow down. Take the escalator, enjoy the ride, take in the view and build a relationship along the way.


Letters, commentaries and opinions appearing in the Cleveland Jewish News do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company, its board, officers or staff.

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