Create a 10-Second Commercial Guaranteed to Generate Interest in Your Business
Cindy Cyr here …
Today, I’ve got some tips for pitching yourself effectively to potential new clients when you first meet them.
And a story fellow copywriter John Wood told me recently is a perfect illustration of my point.
“I was standing outside a clothing store at the mall and started to make a phone call,” John said. “When a guy about 20 came up and said, ‘Could I get bus fare to Barrie?’”
John brushed the guy off by telling him he was on the phone.
But after watching repeat failed attempts at getting bus fare with other shoppers, John asked the guy why he needed money.
After hearing the guy’s story, John told him, “If you plan to get to Barrie anytime soon, you need to change your opening line. You need to put people at ease. You need to tell people who you are and why you need the bus fare.”
“I’m a student. They can see that. They know I don’t have any money,” said the guy.
“You have to tell them,” said John. “You have to introduce yourself and tell them, ‘I’m a student and I’m trying to get back home to see my parents, but I got caught short on cash. I don’t even have enough bus fare back to Barrie. I was wondering if you could be so kind as to help me out a bit?’”
After John’s instructions on what to say instead (and a couple of bucks to get him started), John saw this young man strike up a conversation with a woman and then get on the bus.
The different approach allowed the young art student to get a conversation going long enough to get what he wanted: bus fare.
You can do the same when promoting yourself. Don’t use a direct, almost aggressive approach (like the young man’s first attempt to get bus fare). It comes across as self-serving and salesy and repels prospective clients.
A better way to gain attention is to paint a picture that will get your prospect’s attention and make him curious enough to ask you questions about what it is you do.
To do this, give ultra-specific information about your work as a freelancer. For example: “I work with Apple software–using camera shop owners to create story-driven marketing and mission-driven non-profits wanting to change the world.”
An ultra-specific message removes the threat of talking to you because at this point, they don’t think they are your target audience. This lets their guard down and eager to satisfy their curiosity. So they’ll ask you, “How do you do that?”
This is your opening to give more details on how you help business owners.
This pitch should be thought out and rehearsed in advance. In fact, business coach Doug Wilder suggests you create two “commercials” for yourself: one 60-second commercial and another 10-second one.
Prepare “commercials” to use whenever you meet potential clients. Having them ready to go at conferences, networking events, and whenever someone casually asks what it is you do can help you take full advantage of these opportunities.
The 10-second commercial is what you say when people ask you what you do. The 60-second commercial goes into how you do what you do.
For your 10-second commercial, you want to include:
- Your niche
- Your unique ability
- One to three benefits you provide
- One or two brief phrases of how you provide the benefits
- At least one ultra-specific element
Here’s an example of a 10-second commercial I use: I empower member-based information-marketing companies to uncover existing opportunities, generate leads, and make sales more effectively online through the power of the written word and a marketing strategy specifically designed for online audiences.
For your 60-second commercial, you want to go into more detail about how you do what you do. Here are a couple of things I say in my 60-second commercial:
- I help company owners get beyond the ambiguous to define what truly makes their company unique.
- I provide powerful, effective copywriting services that clearly state what my clients can do for others in an interesting and compelling way using better words to get better results.
When you act as if the person you’re speaking with is not your target audience and give an ultra-specific “commercial,” you’ll arouse curiosity that gets people truly interested in what it is you do. And that can lead to new business, referrals, and more.
A business card can also be a key factor in successful self-promotion. To make sure your card doesn’t blow your chances of getting to the next step in the process, be sure to read my article, “How to Create a Competitive Advantage Using Your Business Card.”
Have you created a great 10-second commercial for your business? Share it with me here.
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