The Mosquito Elevator Speech

A Mosquito feeding on blood

Mosquitoes have a lesson for salespeople: make the customers itch. Sure, the tiny gnats with hypodermic noses could brag about how small they are, how fast they can be in and out, and how stealth they are. But they don’t. They just do what they do best. Make you itch. And then scratch that itch.

There are several ways salespeople can design their “elevator speeches”. You can brag about yourself, product, and company. You can list your customers. Spit out your prices. But, like the gnat, you’re just an annoyance.

Be like the mosquito. Stick it to ’em. Ask them about problems you know they’re likely to have and watch them squirm.

A sales trainer might ask, “How many of your people didn’t meet quota last month?” A banker might ask, “How much are you paying in hidden monthly fees that you don’t even understand?” Sell advertising? How about “Would you like a foolproof way to measure the leads and sales you get from your advertising?” What if you’re a staffing rep calling on a commercial account? “Could the employee candidates being sent to you be better qualified so you don’t waste countless hours doing interviews going nowhere?”

The question becomes your elevator speech because you’re talking about what makes you different. Even better, prospects are talking about their problems they need to solve.

The prospects can either continue itching, or scratch the itch. Their choice. But you get their attention.


Warm Calling? Who Do You Think You’re Kidding?

During a break in our Cleveland seminar, an owner told me I should change the name of our seminar from Cold Calling for Cowards® to “How to Make Warm Calls”. He stresses to his salespeople to think of their calls as being warm calls and not cold calls to make the process more fun.


Couple of things.

First, the title of the seminar has brought in over 150,000 attendees. Why? The title is emotional. People identify with the feeling.

Second, cold calling isn’t fun. It works. But it isn’t fun. Cold calling sucks and changing the name isn’t going to take the dread out of the process. Just like the rose, cold calling is still cold calling by any other name.

The truth about cold calling? Those who actually do it know what I’m talking about.

Yes, There Is a Free Lunch!

The following is an excerpt from Lunch? – 20 Sales Questions I’ve Been Asked Over Lunch. You can get a free PDF copy at to pass on to anyone you like.

One of the biggest complaints by business owners and sales managers is that their people never ask for the order. Having lunch with a couple of business owners in New Brunswick, New Jersey, one complained that there had to be some easy way to get his people to ask for the order.

There is. I gave him a 3 x 5 card and told him it was his. Make copies and give it to his salespeople and tell them to give it to the prospect just before getting up to leave the customers’ office. Then let me know if their sales didn’t increase.

He reported that not only did his people close more deals, but they had more fun doing it, and the customers always got a laugh out of it. It added to their expense accounts, but he said the new sales and new business was worth every penny.

What did the card say?

Close Your Mouth – You’re Drooling

French Fries

Marketing is about creating the hunger. It’s 11 a.m. Another hour before lunch. Your co-worker comes in with his burger, fries, and chocolate shake and sits down at his desk across from you. The smell of the burger and fries grab your nose. Your friend laughs as he talks with his cubicle partner, popping another fry into his mouth and licking the salt from his lips.

You ask where he got the burger. “At Tastee Freeze. Man, they make the best fries and shakes I’ve ever had. And the burgers are like my mom made me as a kid: thin patty, sautéed onions, and a greasy bun. This is heaven.”

It’s 11:03. Watch out Freeze, here you come! Let’s eat!

I’m lovin’ it: Marketing is about creating hunger when there is no hunger. Getting others to testify for you creates instant trust that can’t be bought.


Faux Friends Forever?


A former seminar student in Milwaukee, one of the principals in his firm, passed this on to me. As any executive, business owner, or sales manager will tell you, selling your salespeople on cold calling is one of the toughest sales you have to make.

Sharing ideas on the phone the other day, my friend hit on an idea I hadn’t heard before. He simply asks his salespeople, “How would you like to make just one new friend each day?”

Not, “Do you want to make 20 cold calls each day?” Not “Cold call or else!” No, simply look at cold calling as a way to find one new friend each day. There are 244 working days each year. That’s over 200 new friends each year.

And we’re not talking about faux Facebook friends. We’re talking about real friends you can touch, you can call, friends you can help.

One more thing: each of your new friends has hundreds of their own friends they can refer to you. At one friend per day, that’s tremendous leveraging through cold calling!

That’s what friends are for: To make a friend, find someone you can help and who wants your help. It’s as easy as that.