If you’re a salesperson, you’re likely quite familiar with the idea of an “elevator pitch”. It’s a simple concept, really, whose general idea is to prepare you to succinctly–and with punch–answer the question, “What do you do?”
In my career, and very likely yours, having a good, well-thought-out answer to that question has led to new business. Having a great elevator pitch is a key component to making a business successful. But one thing that an elevator pitch is NOT is a positioning statement. They are very different beasts and, quite often, they’re things that many salespeople confuse. Knowing the differences and how to use each to their greatest strengths can make all the difference in the growth of your business.
An elevator pitch tells people what you do. A positioning statement tells them why they should do it with you.
It’s a subtle difference, but that difference is a critical part of the sales process. When deployed properly, an effective positioning statement does far more than help you make a sale; it carves out a special home for you in the mind of the person to whom you communicate it.
An effective positioning statement tells your prospect why you are uniquely qualified to serve them. In industries like real estate, insurance, and banking, where the consumer has difficulty identifying (or even understanding) the differences between you and your competitor, an effective positioning statement not only helps them choose you, but it actively defends you from your competitors.
For example, if someone asks me what I do at Happy Grasshopper, I say:
I write and deliver email messages that start conversations for salespeople.
While this tells them what I do, and usually invites follow up questions too, it doesn’t give them a real indication of how I am uniquely qualified to help them. This is an elevator pitch; it is not a positioning statement.
When I further explain that I’m a serial entrepreneur, that I started my career in advertising, and that I’ve learned how to quickly build and nurture relationships, I start to get a little closer, but I still haven’t given them anything special. There are millions of entrepreneurs, after all, and everyone knows the importance of building and maintaining relationships.
But when I tell them that one my companies has been named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America four consecutive times, I start to carve out a little space in their brains. I cease to be just “some guy” who might be able to help them and become someone with a proven track record of success.
When I go on to tell them that Happy Grasshopper has delivered over 8 million messages and started 430,000 conversations that have resulted in over $240 million in sales for our customers, they start to imagine what results I can produce for them.
A positioning statement tells them why they should do it with you.
Still, that’s not enough. If I want to stand out in their minds, I’ve got to give them a little more. It’s nice that I’ve caught their attention and it’s good that they’ve started to see me as a unique individual, but to make a lasting impact, I’ve got to put it all together in a way that’s truly memorable.
That’s why I say, “Sending email isn’t a challenge today. There are countless companies that can do that. Happy Grasshopper is different because we’ve developed a unique and patent-pending way of capturing who you really are, and can automatically communicate that to every web lead, no matter its source.”
So, let’s review.
First, I’ve stated that I write and deliver email messages that start conversations for salespeople.
Then, I tell them something unique and memorable about me–something that’s relevant to my capacity to serve them.
“Of course, there are a lot of people who write and send email. It’s my experience that makes me different. You should know that I’m a serial entrepreneur and that everything we do at Happy Grasshopper is influenced by that experience. I know that our customers need results, and they need them right away. Happy Grasshopper is uniquely positioned to help them achieve those results.”
Finally, I connect that to what it means for them.
“This is important; because it’s my life experience that has allowed us to write messages that have resulted in almost a quarter of a billion dollars in sales for our customers. It’s why one of my companies has been on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5000 fastest-growing companies in America four consecutive times.”
Telling people what I do gets their attention. But it’s the positioning statement that earns their confidence and their business. And it’s the thing that makes all the difference.
Happy Grasshopper can help you position yourself effectively, so you’re getting the business you want.