Do you have a WOW statement? No? Then how do you answer this simple question:
“So, what do you do?”
It’s the first question asked when sales professionals meet at a networking event. It’s the most common jumping off point when a sales professional meets a potential prospect. It’s your big chance to make a bold first impression. Sadly, most sales people blow it.
Old Way: The Elevator Pitch
The classic elevator pitch has been around for decades, but became really popular in the 90’s. The idea was that a sales professional (or entrepreneur) should have a rehearsed speech that he could use in any short chance encounter (like a networking group, or even an elevator ride). If you only have 30 to 60 seconds with someone, how quickly can you tell them the most possible information about what you do and what sets you apart from your competition?
It’s a great idea. Unfortunately, after decades of business training and fluffy articles, the typical elevator pitch has become some form of this:
Hi, my name is Dew! Let me verbally throw-up on you about how fantastic I am, how unbelievably awesome my company is, and how incredible my products and services are!
Even worse, the delivery usually sounds something like the “speed reading” disclaimers at the end of a drug commercial.
Not surprisingly, this kind of rambling typically leaves the prospect saying, “okay, thanks for the information”, while exiting your presence as quickly as they can.
New Way: The WOW Statement
In 2004, the venture capitalist Bill Reichert wrote Getting to Wow!, which immediately went viral as a better way to introduce yourself to a new connection. My favorite line:
What are the three or four sentences that can be spoken by a normal human, and can be understood by a normal human, that really capture the essence of what makes your company so interesting?
For sales professionals, the whole article boils down to this: instead of leaving your prospect feeling overwhelmed or ho-hum about you, it’s better to peak their curiosity and create a conversation that begins with them saying, “Wow! I’d really like to find out more.” or even better, “Wow! How do you do that?”.
A WOW statement creates curiosity. A WOW statement does highlight you and your products and services, but it does it in a way that leads to a real conversation.
3 steps to a powerful WOW Statement:
Here’s my 3 step process for creating a powerful WOW statement for any potential prospect or referral partner (it’s the same process I use with my coaching clients):
- Create the WOW!
- Answer the HOW
- Qualify the PROSPECT
Step 1: Create the WOW!
When creating the WOW, start with a short, powerful statement that goes straight to the heart of what makes you so amazing.
Wow Statement Examples:
- I help salespeople make more money.
- I help families find cost savings that can be used to fund their goals and dreams.
- I help companies increase profit by reducing HR related issues.
- I fix IT problems that cost companies thousands of dollars every year.
Keep it short and bake in a little mystery. Remember, your goal is to make them curious; to get them to say, “Wow! How do you do that?”.
Step 2: Answer the HOW
Immediately answer their “How do you do that?” with 2-3 quick points on what you do. Like this:
YOU: “What do you do?”
ME: “I help salespeople make more money!”
YOU: “Wow! How do you do that?”
ME: “I teach salespeople and business owners time management skills so they can take back control of their day, I show them how to generate more leads, and I help them love their career again.”
This entire conversation should feel natural and should happen in 30 seconds or less.
Step 3: Qualify the PROSPECT
If you’ve answered their HOW accurately, the conversation will naturally move to qualifying them as a prospect. After they respond to your HOW, ask them questions about their business.
YOU: “I can relate to that. Lately, I’ve often felt like I’ve lost control of my day.”
ME: “I hear that all the time. So, tell me about what you do – are you an independent sales rep or do you work with a team?”
- Use simple words. You may think big words are impressive, but they really just create confusion and generally sound unnatural and/or showy. Write out your first draft and then read it while asking yourself, “Would a 7th or 8th grader understand this?”
- Make sure to use YOUR own words (not words from a brochure). Using simple words in your own language will keep your pitch from sounding too technical or robotic.
- Your WOW Statement shouldn’t be longer than 4 sentences (a 1 sentence WOW statement with 3 HOW bullets).
- Keep your WOW statement + your HOW answer under 30 seconds. It should be so short that it never feels rushed.
- Use words that create a picture to help your prospect see why they need you.
A WOW Statement should be fun! You should be excited to share it with people every chance you get. After you’ve created your WOW Statement – practice, practice, practice! The last thing you want to do is stumble through it, so be sure it’s memorized to the point that it becomes easy and natural.
Until next time – go sell some stuff!