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.

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How to Start a Conversation with the CEO

English: Henry Kissinger at the 2009 premiere ...

When making a sales call on the CEO or president, how should you begin the conversation?

  1. With several minutes of small talk
  2. Cut to the chase
  3. Wait until the CEO steers the conversation to the subject at hand

(2) Head honchos are usually Driver or Analytical personalities – neither enjoys small talk. Assume you only have fifteen minutes. Take the lead, cut to the chase, and start with your most important point first. It may be the only point you get to make. Speak in specifics: numbers, percentages, and dollars. Be prepared to prove every statement.

Helen Thomas knows where to start: Trying to evade a difficult question, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said the answer was too long and he didn’t know where to start. Helen Thomas responded, “Then start at the end.”

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.

Uh-huh.

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.

When a Brick Isn’t a Brick

BRICKS

Customer give you a problem you can’t solve? Having a hard time to be creative to develop a new marketing piece? Psychologist Ellen Langer said to get the creative juices flowing, add the simple phrase “could be” to look at a problem.

Her experiments showed that if one group of subjects were given a brick and were told “it’s a brick”, they couldn’t see any other creative uses for it. Their mindset was frozen as “it’s a brick”. The next test group was given the same brick and told, “This could be a brick.”

When the last group was asked how many other ways a brick could be used, they said it could serve as a foot warmer, weapon, paperweight, step, bookend, fulcrum, or as a source for red powder.

Solve this problem: Price could be a factor. (That’s right – price is no longer just a brick.)

Jerk!

Trained attack dog Samo leaps forward toward a...

Jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius (Reading People) has a “personal hardness scale” to help make quick judgments about people. She asks if you’ve ever walked away from meeting someone thinking “What a jerk!” or “What a nice guy.” She said at one end of her scale, it’s “cold” and the other end is “hot”.

Cold people are uncaring, critical, intolerant, unforgiving, harsh, punitive, and self-centered. They’re analytical, scan the facts and make quick decisions. Their motto is “What’s in it for me?”

The hot people are compassionate, generous, fair, sincere, affectionate, gentle, forgiving, family-oriented, and understand human frailty. They give the benefit of the doubt, are patient, and inquisitive. They don’t want to hurt anyone and want to do the right thing.

Dimitrius said that if she can peg someone quickly on this scale, it tells her how they are likely to think and behave and how to communicate with them.

And that’s before you even open your mouth: Princeton psychologist Alex Todorov found that within 1/10 of a second of seeing your facial features, people have already made a judgment about whether or not they are attracted to you, if they can trust you, how competent you are, or even if they will like you as a person.