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A Fishy Subplot

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play….”

My toddler pretends not to pay attention, waiting for me to turn the page so she can joyfully jump into my lap, point at the book, and yell “fishy!”

For many, Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat” is more about the cat than the fish.

Not so for my daughter.

She’s distraught (“Where fish go?”) on the pages without the fish.

So we must quickly turn pages until we spot him again (“Fish in teapot!”).

I have a whole new appreciation for the trials of the “fish in the pot.”

It’s an entirely different perspective on a book I’ve loved since childhood.

Because there’s a compelling story about a fish.

Hiding in plain sight.

In pictures and rhyme.

It never occurred to me to tell it.

Yet it’s the only story my daughter wants to hear.

And it gets me thinking about your Elevator Pitch.

Are you telling the story your prospect’s want to hear?

Here are 3 ways to make sure your prospects tune in to your message:

1. Focus on one Customer’s Result

If you think your explanation is too technical.

It is.

Because you’re talking features instead of the most compelling benefit.

For example: one of my clients runs an online community for entrepreneurs.

When she talks about open forums, hubVotes, and subgroups, (i.e. features), she finds herself endlessly compared to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

When she talks about a particular entrepreneur who becomes focused and motivated from responses to his post in the open forum, she gets people to sign up and try it for themselves.

What’s your best result from a particular customer?

2. Specialize

Have you had this experience:

The more you work on your pitch, the less it sounds like you.

That’s because, the more you generalize, the more you sound like everyone else.

Like Curly’s advice in City Slickers, you have to talk about one thing.

It doesn’t mean you don’t pursue other opportunities.

It doesn’t mean you won’t use your other skills.

It simply means that when you talk to people, you focus on your most compelling result.

For example: a recent client used to say she was a “mortgage broker.”

With the state of real estate, people say “I’m so sorry to hear that. Things must be terrible.”

Which puts her on the defensive before she can convince people that mortgages are available.

Instead, she now says that she recently put a young couple into their very first home.

She still does refi’s and investment properties, and she works with people of any age.

But to engage people she only talks about putting young couples into their first home.

What’s your specialty?

3. Turn it Around

A participant asks a great question at Friday’s Acton Networkers event:

“What’s the best way to get your message across to someone who just keeps talking about themselves?”

And the answer is: “You can’t.”

And you don’t want to.

If they’re not listening, then they won’t hear your message anyway.

Besides, networking is about starting conversations.

Worry less about getting your message across.

And ask that person about the best project they ever worked on.

Maybe you can give them a great lead.

Then they’ll pay more attention to your message.

What are you doing to develop relationships?

Happy Networking!

2 comments on “A Fishy Subplot

  1. Thanks Andy, excellent advice. Also, thanks for pointing out the different views of your story – Dr. Seuss or your elevator pitch – it’s about proper communication and connecting and I always appreciate your wisdom and guidance.

    1. John,
      Thank you for reading (and writing!). You’re right that it’s all about the point of view, and it’s easier to start conversations when you use your prospect’s point of view.
      Happy Networking!

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