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posted: 11/22/2016 1:00 AM

Your 30 seconds to fame

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Messaging is so important in today's technology centered world. Our entire online experience is based on sending or receiving messages and most of it is mishandled. In sales, the way we introduce ourselves, either online or in person begins the sales process, yet few take the time to craft the linchpin of the sale properly.

I was teaching a sales class the other day when I asked the 25 members of the group to play a game. Each was to stand up and introduce their company, giving information they would deliver to a prospect. Each participant in the class had a series of 4x6 cards in front of the with numbers from 10 down to 1. Before each presenter spoke, I instructed the class to give a proficiency rating using the cards with 10 being the highest score an individual could receive. Prior to the audience scoring, I asked the participant to rate themselves based on their ability to be concise, clear and thought-provoking. Remember, the audience was playing the role of interested prospect! Presenters could not rely on any notes and must deliver it from memory, just as they would to a potential customer.

Their nervousness was palpable and their response to the disparity in their self-scores, averaging an 8, and that of their peers, averaging a 4, was mind-blowing! The feedback ranged from "rambling to over-rehearsed" to "confusing to overly focused." The eye-opening and, in some cases, shattering feedback caught them off guard as the majority was convinced they had "nailed it!"

I interviewed each participant at the exercise's end by asking the following questions: "How much importance do you place on your "30 second commercial?"

"How often do you practice and modify it?" "Have you ever had a 3rd party critique it to improve it?" and, finally, "Do you believe you have identified your prospects' PAIN with it?". As you can already guess, they placed little or no importance on it, never practice, never ask to be critiqued and strictly focus on the features and benefits aspect of their business.

There are three key elements to the goal of an exceptional "30 seconds to fame" commercial: The first is what I call the "motherhood" statement about your business; it should provide an overview of the company's mission in two or three sentences.

Secondly, the message's core must incorporate some typical problems you solve for your existing clients. The objective is to enable your prospect to relate your problem-solving to his business' challenges. Finally, meaningful and measurable results they could expect based on your experience are shared. You are answering the foremost question on their minds, "Will working with you impact their bottom line?"

It's time to review your ability to effectively communicate online and in person!

Here are some proven tips:

1. A solid commercial lasts 30-45 seconds and focuses on the prospect's projected needs, not your company's features and benefits.

2. When you deliver it in person, pay more attention to your body language and tonality than the words themselves.

3. Remember that your prospect listens to radio station WIIFM (What's In It For Me); make sure your message is clear!

4. Choose words like "We specialize in ..." to concisely communicate your expert status.

5. Watch your facial expressions as you practice it in front of a mirror and recite it 15 times out loud. This is what your prospects witness, is it a "30 seconds to fame" performance?

6. Objectively review your social media postings, especially LinkedIn, as this is usually the first stop for a prospect to check out your credentials and reputation.

This seemingly small messaging tactic is often discounted in favor of presenting and closing skills. I have always believed that it creates the first impression of you and your company and many times the impression isn't favorable. Go conquer your worlds.

• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. Text "SalesTip" to 71813 to receive Bill's bi-weekly newsletter.